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Proposed 200-plus lot subdivision in south Forsyth revisited
Number reduced; school, traffic remain concern
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SOUTH FORSYTH -- The Forsyth County planning board discussed a revised zoning application Tuesday that would create a 229-lot subdivision in south Forsyth.

Sharp Residential LLC is requesting to rezone about 104 acres from a restricted industrial district, or M1, to a single family residential Res-4 district on Shiloh Road just east of Ga. 400 and McFarland Parkway (Exit 12.)

The subdivision would be comprised of single-family detached homes and pocket parks and falls within the McFarland-Stoney Point Livable Centers Initiative Character Area, or LCI.

County commissioners approved the LCI category in 2006 as an initiative to link land-use planning with greater transportation options and create more “livable” communities, according to its website.

The LCI stretches from Ga. 400 east to Shiloh and Stoney Point roads from the Forsyth-Fulton County line to Majors Road and encompasses the proposed Ronald Reagan Boulevard extension and Big Creek Greenway.

Sharp Residential first submitted the application in October 2015 but has since altered it based on concerns voiced by the county’s planning and community development staff.

With the developer’s changes, staff was supportive of the proposal, citing its suitability “in view of the zonings of the surrounding properties.”

Planning board members, however, raised some of the same discussion points they previously had; a focus of concern rested on the impact the subdivision would have on schools and traffic conditions.

“I, as a planning commissioner, take into account the school situation and the traffic situation,” said Bettina Hammond, board member for District 4 in north Forsyth.

Given the subdivision would be occupied by families, area schools would see an increase in already-overcrowded enrollment.

“I got a nice email from a nice lady who complained in some detail that she can’t get to her child’s school,” said Robert Hoyt, planning representative for east Forsyth’s District 5. “The school bus, [she said], is as late as 45 minutes because of traffic, and that’s as it is now with no residential [subdivisions].”

Board Chairwoman Jayne Iglesias, representative for District 2 in south Forsyth, countered, saying it might not necessarily be increased traffic that is making students late.

“This is not the only location where kids are late to school because of the buses,” she said. “We are also experiencing that in my neighborhood. [The school board] is working out the kinks and with all of the new routes for the new schools, redistricting and all of that, there’s some issues.”

And although she must weigh the school and traffic issues, Hammond said those issues will be inherent to any proposed development.

“In every [residential] zoning that I look at, there’s going to be a problem with schools and there’s going to be a problem with traffic,” she said. “I don’t say that to minimize [the issues] at all, but I do think the planning commission has to look at the other side of this. The developer went from where they were [at], they reduced the number of lots, they [proposed] putting in a roundabout, and it is [part of] the LCI.”

As recently as April, the developer planned to have 286 units in the subdivision.

The current plan has reduced that number by 57 and now includes a roundabout to help ease the traffic the new neighborhood would generate.

The planning board will hold a public hearing on Tuesday, Aug. 30, during which they may vote to approve or deny the application.

Their vote serves as a recommendation for the Board of Commissioners, which will ultimately decide the fate of the rezoning request. The proposal is scheduled to appear before the BOC on Sept. 15.