A new neighborhood of rented homes in west Forsyth, the latest on issues between Forsyth County and the Georgia Department of Transportation over Post Road and a new events center off Windermere Parkway are among issues approved at the Forsyth County Board of Commissioner’s regular meeting on Thursday.
All items were approved by a 5-0 vote unless otherwise noted.
American Homes 4 Rent
The ongoing issues between residents living in The Lakes of Franklin Goldmine, located off Heardsville Road, and American Homes 4 Rent, which is developing the planned third phase of the neighborhood as for-rent properties, have come to an end.
Commissioners voted to approve a county-initiated request to rezone about 51 acres from single-family residential district (Res-3) to master-planned district (MPD), with variances to reduce the required commercial percentage for the development from 10% to 0% and to reduce the total open space from 36% to 22%.
“We’re very pleased that we’ve been able to work this out, and this new development will be developed and built,” said District 1 Commissioner Molly Cooper.
Under the agreement, the 95 homes planned for the area will not be part of The Lakes at Franklin Goldmine and will be part of a new neighborhood, which will not connect to the existing neighborhood.
Officials with American Homes 4 Rent and neighbors who had originally opposed the development spoke in favor of the change.
“What makes this unique is we have the current developer, the residents and the Forsyth County officials all able to come together to work out what we feel is a solution,” said resident Scott Littlewood. “To my understanding, not doing this on a daily basis or ever, is that is kind of a little bit unusual in this world, everybody coming together.”
The development will have a minimum lot size of 10,000 square feet and a minimum heated floor area of 2,000 square feet.
The property was rezoned originally in 2006 for 111 homes. A 2017 condition change meant that the minimum lot size for developments would be 10,000 square feet with an average of 14,000 square feet and a maximum of 95 lots.
Commissioners unanimously approved moving ahead with the county-initiated zoning in December.
The development of the neighborhood’s third phase has been a source of friction for residents. In October of 2019, homeowners and officials with homebuilder Paran Homes and developer American Homes 4 Rent met. Homeowners raised concerns that have been ongoing in the neighborhood, such as issues with amenities, the planned rentals, the status of some yet-to-be-built lots and other lingering issues.
Windermere event center
A new event facility is coming to Windermere, after commissioners approved a request to amend zoning conditions for 3835 Windermere Parkway, formerly the site of Ace Hardware, for an event facility.
“This is a private facility, so it’s really folks coming in for birthday parties, weddings, that sort of thing,” said zoning attorney Sean Courtney.
Due to the change in the type of business, conditions were needed to make sure the facility will match previous site plans, that hours of operation be restricted to 8 a.m. to 2 a.m., that there will be no outdoor amplified sound and to only allow parking at the facility.
Per the conditions, alcohol can be served 9 a.m. to 1 a.m. on Mondays-Thursdays, 9 a.m. to 2 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. on Sundays.
Extra parking was added as part of the conditions, and a condition was added on Thursday to make sure all parking was at the property.
Latest on Post Road
According to county officials, since the beginning of the year, GDOT has considered Post Road a county road, rather than being under state control.
In response, last week, commissioners approved a motion to wait 45 days to agree to a resolution for the county to take over the roadway and for the county to take over any emergency repairs on the road until then. That motion was revisited at Thursday’s meeting to include other already-planned projects.
“I’d like to alter that motion with a new motion that says that until this is resolved, the county will take the position not only to make emergency repairs to the road that are not limited to potholes, any washouts, cracking, separations, that it also will take care of the traffic light that was approved by GDOT at Pittman Road, the Majors Road engineering plan,” said District 3 Commissioner Todd Levent.
“We will have our staff look at the speed limits for potential reductions and reposting and any roundabouts that they may also feel are appropriate on the road until this is resolved.”
Levent later restated the motion to clarify that the county would take on any emergency repairs, the traffic light and to consider the other projects until it is decided whether the road will be maintained by the state or the county, which will be discussed at a future commission meeting after commissioners meet with state officials.
He said GDOT had previously approved the materials for the project, with Forsyth paying for the installation and that was not planned to change.
Levent said the motion would move the traffic light project along.
Post Road has received renewed attention following an accident in August of 2019 involving 16-year-old Zoe Ordway, who was seriously injured when making a left turn from Bentley Road onto Post Road.
County, state and law enforcement officials held a town hall in October of 2019 to discuss issues with nearby residents. At the time, residents were also in favor of widening the road, and some said they wanted to see the road move under the county’s purview.
Post Road went under state control in the early ‘90s but was switched back soon after due to complaints from the community at the time.
In October, commissioners also requested that the speed limit on the road be reduced from 40 mph to 30 mph for school zones.
County officials said if commissioners did not sign an agreement taking over the road, essentially no one would control it.
Post Road is slated to be widened from two to four lanes between Hwy. 9 and Hwy. 20, with the first phase of work scheduled to start in 2028 and the second phase in 2035.