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Retail center could grow about 10 acres
Board members OK with request
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Forsyth County News
The Forsyth County Planning Commission has recommended approval of a request to rezone property that will expand the site of a west Forsyth development.

The five-member panel unanimously supported the Sofran Group’s request to rezone about 9.6 acres from residential to commercial.

The site will expand upon 21 acres approved for commercial use in 2008. The property is off Kelly Mill Road near Drew Court. The site also borders Midway Park.

The board’s recommendation goes to the county commission for final approval, which could come next month.

Emory Lipscomb, who spoke on Sofran’s behalf Tuesday night, said plans for the development include a shopping center anchored by a Kroger grocery store.

“We will benefit from the standpoint of tax revenues that will be brought in and the new jobs that are created here in this area as a result of this development,” said Lipscomb, adding the project could generate about $5 million in annual revenue.

He said construction would create 150 jobs and the development could employ about 750 people when finished.

Jim Hamilton of Southern Civil Engineers explained that the development will encroach on 295 feet of national waters and 406.5 feet of state waters.

As a result, Sofran has applied for permits with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Georgia Environmental Protection Division.

“The way we’re going to mitigate our impacts is through the purchase of stream credits through the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers,” he said.
“There’s an approved mitigation bank.

“We’re going to have to get 1,503.45 stream credits to cover that and that’s what we’re going through in that regard.”

Hamilton said plans also call for a permanent, on-site water quality management facility.

Planning Commissioner Brant Meadows attempted to block Sofran’s requests for variances to eliminate stream buffers and impervious setback requirements. His motion failed, however, due to a lack of majority.

Meadows did ask that Sofran seek to make improvements to Big Creek.

Planning Commission Chairman Barry Russell spoke favorably of the development.

“I would say the plan that Sofran and SCE have put together for the storm water management has impressed me and shown to be very high quality,” he said.

“They have shown, to me, an ability to improve the water quality coming away from that site and I think that’s a benefit for everybody.”