By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great local journalism.
Way cleared for subdivisions revival
Relief offered to developer cleaning up former landfill
Placeholder Image
Forsyth County News
Other action

Also Thursday, the Forsyth County commission:

• Passed an amendment to the alcohol ordinance allowing farm wineries and tasting rooms in the county by a 4-1 vote, with Chairman Charles Laughinghouse opposed.

• Postponed until July 15 a decision on a variance for a resident who did not get a permit before building a fireplace in his back yard. Several neighbors spoke against a variance on the basis of safety, property values and precedence.

• Agreed to requests from two residents to hold public hearings on water billing adjustments due to burst pipes.

• Approved six changes to the unified development code: planning commission and zoning board of appeals terms were changed from two to four years; churches will require conditional use permits in agricultural and residential zonings; and mailings to interested parties can be done by e-mail. The changes also tweaked agricultural zonings, master planned developments and Big Creek impervious surface area requirements.

• Note: All votes were 5-0 unless otherwise noted.

— Alyssa LaRenzie
Edge City Properties soon will begin cleaning up a vacant subdivision in southeastern Forsyth County that reportedly has unsafe methane levels.

The Overlook at James Creek, which sits atop a former landfill on Melody Mizer Lane, had accrued county soil and erosion fines totaling more than $2 million.

Thanks to a relief agreement approved Thursday with the county, however, the developer plans to clean up the site and finish building the neighborhood.

The area where the landfill once sat will become green space.

“Assuming it all gets cleaned up, I think it’s a very good deal,” said Commissioner Jim Boff, in whose district the property lies.

“If nobody cleans it up, we wouldn’t have collected any fines anyway probably. It would have just been polluted land forever.”

The methane problem and growing environmental fines had discouraged anyone from acquiring the 157-lot subdivision, which sits atop the former Miller-Trammel Road Landfill used for construction debris.

County Attorney Ken Jarrard has previously said the “reality on the ground is that no one is willing to touch it because no one wants to touch a liability.”

“Edge City is coming forward and saying, ‘I’m in. I’ll do it. I’ll subject myself to the [Environmental Protection Division], but I want some help on these fines as a condition,’” Jarrard said.

In return for satisfactorily cleaning up the area, Edge City will have 75 percent of the fines relaxed and receive a $1 credit toward the remaining fines for each $1 spent remediating the property, according to the agreement.

A resident of a neighboring subdivision, who said his retention pond had been contaminated, will also receive remediation under the agreement, if possible.

Mike Dye, principal of the development company, plans to get started with the multimillion dollar cleanup in the next two or three months.

“I think it’ll be selling homes in the next 12 months in there, and it’s going to be a great development,” Dye said. “All we’ve got to do is relocate the landfill, remove it and we’ll be off to the races.”

Edge City will be eligible for building and land disturbance permits after the remediation has been finished.

The company acquired the security interest on phase two of the project from the failed lender, but didn’t want to get involved without the county’s assistance.

In March 2007, The Overlook had methane levels “above the explosive limit emanating from the landfill,” according to a letter from the EPD advising the developer to clean up the site.

The original developer filed for bankruptcy in April 2007, leaving no one to pay the county for soil and erosion fines, which increased daily.