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Planning panel set for Forsyth Countys District 2
Tam Brian

SOUTH FORSYTH — The seats on a subarea planning board for south Forsyth have been filled, though more changes could be looming.

On Tuesday, the Forsyth County commission voted 5-0 to approve Jim Bennie, Mitch Copman, Bill Fitch Jr. and Carter Patterson to serve on the District 2 group. They will be joined by the district’s commissioner, Brian Tam.

The item was approved on time-sensitive basis, as the group could hold its first meeting as early as next week.

On Tuesday, Tam also proposed a change that would prohibit him or any future commissioner from voting on the panel.

That move, however, would require a change to the county policy.

“I’m going to ask that we start the process to amend the [unified development code] on this subarea planning commission to make the commissioner who is chairing the meetings a non-voting member and, in the case of a tie, a tie would get sent to the [commission],” Tam said.

The proposal was approved in a 4-1 vote, with Commissioner Todd Levent opposed. Levent said he had hoped Tam would not serve on the committee.

The commission approved the creation of the subarea board for District 2 last month. It will make alternative recommendations to the commission that would go along with the regular recommendations of the planning board.

The issue of securing more control over zoning in south Forsyth appeared to be at the center of both the District 2 planning group and an effort to enact legislation to create the county’s second city, Sharon Springs, which would have included District 2 and much of south Forsyth.

The state bill, which has since been withdrawn from the legislature, touted Sharon Springs as a “city light,” offering only zoning, code enforcement and sanitation.

Tam has stated in the past that the planning board and cityhood matters are unrelated.

County commissioners have also discussed the possibility of eliminating the existing planning board and replacing it with five subarea boards, one for each district.

Such a step, however, would require help from the local state legislative delegation, as the current planning board concept was created through Georgia’s government.