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Residents give input on future of Forsyth County
Foster Forsyth

What has Foster Forsyth been doing?

Mid- to late April: Five visioning workshop were held for the public to gather input on what they would like to see in the next 20 years.

April and May: Officials gave information on the update at four kiosks across the county.

Mid-May: At several design workshops, residents worked with planners to discuss what types of land use were best for which parts of the county and what type of development should be pursued.

Mid-June: This week, the county held a pair of implementation workshops to discuss how to reach the goals laid out at previous meetings.

Late Aug: On August 29 and 31 from 4-8 p.m., draft plan open houses will be held at the commissioner’s meeting room at the Forsyth County administration building.

Sept. 27: The update will go before the county’s planning board for approval.

Oct. 6: During the county commission’s regular meeting, the plan will be reviewed by region and state officials.

Dec. 15: Commissioners can take action on the comprehensive plan update.

Residents had two more opportunities this week to influence future land use in the county.

Representatives with Foster Forsyth, the county’s update to its comprehensive plan, held implementation meetings on Monday and Wednesday to hear from the public on what they would like to see in the future for certain areas.

The comprehensive plan involves officials determining character areas in the county, or nearby areas that would have similar needs for design and industry. They have broken the county down into 11 such areas.

“We’re going to take all of the input we’re hearing tonight, [and] we’re going to refine these character areas into something that has more meat behind it because we have gotten an understanding from the community that we are heading in the right direction but need to make some shifts,” said Amanda Hatton of Jacobs Engineering.

Forsyth County is working on the update with Jacobs Engineering and Kimley-Horn and Associates and has held numerous meetings for citizens to give input.

During the first exercise of the meeting, residents placed stickers on a board for each area indicating support for more or less dense, relative to the area, developments for town center/commercial, business and industry and residential categories.

Eric Bosman of Kimley-Horn and Associates said it was important to break down the county into separate areas that have their own feel and character.

“What the community told us back in April is that it’s really hard to think about Forsyth County as one place that ought to be treated all the same,” he said. “We are a collection of different communities. South Forsyth fells different than Buford Dam Road and Haw Creek, and that’s different than Chestatee and Jot Em Down Road.

For the second exercise, the crowd was broken up into smaller groups to discuss economic development, housing and transportation priorities in the county.

County resident Charity McDaniel said she used the opportunity to voice some changes she would like to see.

“I said that I would like to see the Chamber [of Commerce] work with the arts community to bring more arts and entertainment to the county, and I want a sidewalk on Hwy. 9,” she said.

Overall, she said she appreciated being involved in the county’s future.

“I thought tonight’s event was really helpful,” McDaniel said. “I think it’s great anytime the public is invited to participate where they live. That’s fantastic.”

In August, residents will be able to attend open houses to review the plan before commissioners hold any public hearings.

The Board of Commissioners is expected to take action on the plan in December.

More information on the update process can be found online at fosterforsyth.com.