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Zoning category biggest debate for proposed north Forsyth subdivision
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NORTH FORSYTH -- The Forsyth County planning board is considering a 200-lot subdivision in north Forsyth.

Settingdown Properties LLC is requesting to rezone about 163 acres from agricultural district, or A1, to single family community residential district, or CR2, for 202 residential lots with a density of 1.24 units per acre.

The property is located on Dr. Bramblett Road in north Forsyth, just north of the intersection with Holbrook Road and south of the intersection with Byers Road.

District 1 board member Rusty Whitlow, whose district the application falls in, said at a work session Tuesday he would like the property to look more like a Res-3 zoning than a CR2, while neighbors have voiced preferences for a Res-2 – a lower density category.

“They’d like to see 5-acre lots [on a Res-2,]” Whitlow said. “So we’re in between the Res-2 and the Res-3 and the developer is trying to get there, but from a development cost he doesn’t like the 100-foot-wide lot size. He has agreed to do at least a minimum 80-foot-wide lot, which is 10 feet more than Res-3 calls for and do a minimum lot size of 16,000 square feet.”

Res-2 zonings call for larger lots, with a minimum of 18,500 square feet. Res-3 requires 14,750 square feet minimum.

“[The developer] has agreed to do 18,500 square foot lots the entire length of Dr. Bramblett,” Whitlow said, “and 16,000 for the rest.”

Res-2 and Res-3 zonings also require a property to have a minimum of 5 percent common area, which Vanessa Bernstein-Goldman, the county’s deputy director for planning and community development, said is problematic for this application.

“We still have a planning condition related to the trails [drawn],” Bernstein-Goldman said. “[The developer] put it on a grade that is very steep. We’re looking at it pre-engineering so we can only comment on existing grade, not what the grading plan is going to turn it into. But where they put those trails now, it’s not terribly viable so we have put a planning condition that it needs to be viable.”

Chairwoman Bettina Hammond, of District 4, said aside from the developer needing to create more walkable trails throughout the property that she has no major concerns.

“[The developer] has done a lot of work on this,” she said. “The way it started out was Res-3; we had them do Res-3 drawings, then Res-3 conservation … we’ve had them do everything to try to figure out what was fair. If you stuck to the [Res-3] performance standards, they could have gotten 237 lots on this piece of property.

“They came in with a CR2, which is 222 lots, and I think they’re down to 200 lots now.”

The planning commission will hold a public hearing regarding the application on Tuesday, Feb. 28, where they may vote to send the rezoning to the Board of Commissioners with a recommendation for approval or denial.

The BOC is expected to vote on the application at its March 16 regular meeting.