Also at their work session Tuesday, Forsyth County commissioners:
• Directed staff to work with court administration to find a suitable space for a third local Superior Court judge, expected to begin at the start of 2013.
• Authorized the next phases of expansion at the Fowler Wastewater Treatment Plant.
The project is expected to cost nearly $930,000 from the water and sewer fund, which had encumbered $780,000 for the expansion.
• Awarded a bid for design and engineering services at Old Alpharetta/Caney and Pine Grove roads to Pond & Company for about $67,000.
The company will first conduct a traffic study to determine whether a traffic light or roundabout is warranted, as well as any turn lanes.
• Approved a project framework agreement with the state Department of Transportation for the second phase of widening Bethelview Road from Castleberry Road to Canton Highway.
Construction could start in 2017, or sooner if the 1-cent sales tax referendum for regional transportation passes this year.
• Changed the process for employee alcohol sales permit violations to not require first-time underage sales violators to attend an administrative hearing, but rather give an automatic 30-day suspension with an appeal to the commission.
Also, first-time technical violations will be handled at the staff level without a hearing.
• Agreed to settle a suit from Rising Fawn Equestrian Center against the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office for $4,000. The owner maintained that the mounted patrol removed horses from the property when it should not have, due to a rent dispute.
Note: All votes were 5-0 unless otherwise noted.
— Alyssa LaRenzie
In the hopes of settling a lawsuit, Forsyth County commissioners are opting to initiate the rezoning process for a large tract of land next to a planned eco-industrial park.
The commission voted 4-0 on Tuesday to proceed with an expedited rezoning for a 228-acre parcel in north Forsyth owned by the Mashburn Family Trust.
Commissioner Pete Amos recused himself from the vote because his wife is a member of the trust.
Forsyth County Attorney Ken Jarrard said the “accelerated process” will require just one public hearing, which likely will be May 3.
“Even if we initiate the rezoning under the auspices of settling the case, you don’t have to zone it this way,” Jarrard said. “You’re not agreeing to zone it any particular way and you retain your full legislative discretion.”
The trust launched the suit as an appeal to the commission’s December 2010 rezoning of a neighboring 115-acre tract owned by Buckhorn Ventures.
That rezoning, from agricultural to heavy industrial, was also county-initiated, as part of what Jarrard said was an attempt “to resolve a host of different cases involving Buckhorn.”
The county-initiated rezoning request for the Mashburn Trust property is to change from Residential-4 to Residential-6, which would allow for multifamily housing.
Andrea Jones, attorney for the trust, said her clients proposed the solution “to ensure their property was adequately buffered from the industrial use on the Buckhorn property.”
“It seemed that it was a win-win for everybody,” Jones said. “I’m just hopeful that we will be able to resolve our differences.”
Buckhorn Ventures has plans for a renewable energy and academic park on the Leland Drive site that currently houses their sand-mining operation.
In addition to sand manufacturing, the concept plan for the park includes buildings for other industries interested in environmentally-minded opportunities.