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South Forsyth plan irks developer of nearby project
Proposal has 3 hotels, nearly 600 apartments
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Forsyth County News

Forsyth County officials have asked for more time to study a Las Vegas company’s proposal for a large mixed-use development in south Forsyth.

The decision comes as developers of a neighboring project have voiced concerns the proposed development could negatively affect their plans.

Diversified Asset Planning’s proposal for The Commons at Big Creek calls for three 115-room hotels, nearly 600 apartments and office and retail space on a 121-acre tract at the southwest corner of Ga. 400 and McFarland Road.

Attorney Emory Lipscomb, who represents Diversified, said a request to rezone the property as a master planned district could go before the county's planning board next month.

He said the planning board and county commission, which has the final say on the request, want more information about the project.

Lipscomb said Big Creek would adjoin the Taubman Centers Inc. development, which is already in the works.

Taubman plans to build an upscale live-work-play community on 164 acres between Union Hill and McFarland roads that will also include hotels, shopping and about 875 residential units.

A regional mall is also slated for the site, which could include two Bloomingdale’s or Nordstrom-type anchor stores.

Taubman, which finalized a development agreement, or incentives package, with the commission in December, has taken issue with the neighboring proposal.

Mark Putney, Taubman's vice president of development, questioned Diversified's switch to 586 apartments. The original plan called for 208 town homes.

“What they’ve proposed here will increase the amount of traffic produced by this property by 36 percent over what’s currently zoned there,” Putney said. “These roads weren’t designed for that kind of traffic volume.”

Putney also worried about the quality of Diversified’s development. The request reportedly contains no architectural guidelines or use restrictions and would allow 12-story buildings anywhere on the commercial portions of the site.

“This is moving rather quickly,” he said. “We met with the applicants and shared with them our concerns. My hope is that some changes will be made to the zoning application, so it becomes a better match with what’s next door.

"Our goal is to preserve the quality of the area, make sure that what happens around us continues to be complementary.”

Lipscomb said he is aware of Taubman’s concerns.

“We’re glad that we’re going to have a very high quality development,” he said, adding that the Georgia Mountains Regional Development Center and the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority have approved his client's plans.

“The local planning staff has reviewed it and is supportive of the zoning,” Lipscomb said. “It conforms to the county’s comprehensive plan and the future land-use map, and we’re real excited to be a part of it.”

Staff Writer Frank Reddy contributed to this report