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Land Bank Authority moves ahead with obtaining 25 parcels in Greenleaf subdivision
Forsyth County commissioners have discussed some possibilities for cleaning up the unfinished Greenleaf subdivision. - photo by Alyssa LaRenzie

Plans and parcels for the abandoned Greenleaf subdivision are starting to come together.

On Monday, Feb. 28, the joint Forsyth County/City of Cumming Land Bank Authority met to discuss the subdivision, which was partially built in north Forsyth before being the center of a mortgage fraud scheme case, and approved bringing 25 additional parcels under the group’s authority.  

At the meeting, the authority approved moving ahead with the purchase of 20 acres from previous buyers of the land, accepting five parcels of the subdivisions from Forsyth County and amending a previous agreement with the county.

Forsyth County Manager Kevin Tanner, a member of the authority, said that if all goes as planned, the authority could be in control of 65 homes of the 69 lots in the planned subdivision. 

“I think there’s only maybe two or three other lots that are not owned by us at that point and some common area,” Tanner said. 

Once the authority controls 90% of the properties, members will have the ability to amend covenants previously placed on the lots.

Tanner said reconfiguring the lots may be necessary to sell the land to a buyer since the current lot sizes are not eligible for septic tanks.

Earlier in February, Forsyth County Commissioners approved deeding over the five parcels the county owns to the authority and allowing the county to front the money for the Land Bank Authority to purchase the lots in the neighborhood owned by private investors not to exceed the amount of $200,000.

During Tuesday’s meeting, Tanner said the money will be repaid to the county after the sale of the property.

Construction on the Greenleaf subdivision, located off Anderson Lake Road, halted in 2006 with only 18 lots being partially built before falling into disrepair.

Forsyth County leaders have previously described structures in the 40-acre property as “shells” of houses that were in poor condition, had been vandalized and stripped and were built without proper infrastructure, which meant they could not be completed.

Two men tied to the 40-acre development were sentenced to federal prison for a mortgage fraud scheme and ordered to pay millions in restitution.

In 2015, county commissioners authorized Forsyth County Attorney Ken Jarrard’s office to move forward with a nuisance abatement process to begin the process of removing the properties, which was completed in 2016. Tax liens were placed on the property for the demolition.

After the structures were torn down, tax and title issues continued on the land.

The authority, which held its first meeting last year, was approved as a way to rejuvenate land that is delinquent in taxes, in disrepair, abandoned or foreclosed on.