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Plans updated for new Forsyth voter registration facility
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FORSYTH COUNTY -- The Forsyth County commission recently approved the construction of a new building for the Department of Voter Registration and Elections, and plans are already changing.

During a recent meeting, commissioners voted 5-0 to expand the building by about 5,000 square feet and to amend the project’s budget. The expansion will be used for equipment storage.

The facility will be built on undeveloped property near the Forsyth County Tax Commissioner’s Office and Magistrate Court, which sits at the corner of Tribble Gap Road and Sawnee Drive on Cumming’s northern edge. The work will likely impact parking at the other building.

“It would push the building forward by roughly 35 feet and push the parking towards the existing parking lots,” said Bruce Morris with Sizemore Group, the company awarded the bid. “What we’re proposing is to take out … existing parking, regrade that area and more gently slope it … toward the parking lot. That would make one contiguous parking lot.”

The area will initially lose 26 parking spaces during construction but will have 48 new spaces once the project is completed. Morris said the parking change will make it easier for any future development to use the area.

The new additions will cost some $33,000 for site developments and $950,000 for construction. The entire development will cost about $3.8 million.

The elections department currently operates out of the county administration building. Other uses for the new site will include advance voting.

Forsyth County Commissioner Cindy Jones Mills, of District 4, said the change showed the county’s need for a plan for government buildings and land.

“Before we keep making more decisions piecemeal, we need to do [a] study. I think we desperately need to know as a board what we’ve got, what we need. And we need a plan,” she said.

“Just like we need a land-use plan for our [comprehensive plan], we need to know about our facilities. We need a plan for our government buildings. ”