Plans for a large development anchored by a grocery store at the northeast corner of Canton Highway and Tribble Road cleared the Forsyth County Planning Board this week.
On Tuesday, board members recommended approval by a 3-2 vote, with members Bettina Hammond and Jessica Thorsen opposed, of the rezoning of 15.7 acres from agricultural (A1), commercial business (CBD), single-family residential (R1) and single-family residential restricted (R2R) districts to CBD for 83,853 square feet of commercial buildings, including a 51,908-square-foot large-scale retail business with 463 parking spaces and a conditional-use permit for gas pumps that can stay open overnight.
Variances related to parking, landscaping, setbacks, buffers and lot width were recommended as part of the approval.
“This is an exciting project that we hope is going to set the standard in west Forsyth for new architecture and design requirements,” said Ethan Underwood, a zoning attorney with Miles, Hansford and Tallant representing applicant Halvorsen Development Corporation.
Applicants did not say at the meeting which grocery store was planning to be the anchor, but one member of the board indicated it might be a Publix.
Underwood said the project would have a “modern farmhouse” look similar to the Crabapple community in north Fulton.
Neighbors and other speakers present at the meeting spoke out against the variances and landscaping, buffer and traffic issues with the development.
“No one in this county is entitled to a variance,” said speaker Kirk Wintersteen. “There is no reason this property cannot be sold, and there is no reason the property cannot be developed. There is no hardship here.”
When asked by chair Bettina Hammond what the hardships for applying for variances were, Underwood said it was due to the shape of the property.
“The hardship is you do have [a] difficult shape. This is an ‘L-shaped’ piece of property, so it pinches in on itself. The parking requirement to facilitate this is a hardship because of the shape, topography of the property,” he said.
County staff was supportive of the project without the variances.
The request is next scheduled to go to Forsyth County Commissioners at its Thursday, Sept. 19 meeting.