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Opponents of proposed asphalt plant in South Forsyth get small win
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Residents near a proposed asphalt plant pack a Forsyth County Board of Commissioners meeting on Thursday, Nov. 21, 2019, to voice their opposition. - photo by Ben Hendren

The latest developments and next plans for a south Forsyth asphalt plant’s relocation, plans for moving two locations of a local pet rescue under one roof and the latest on plans for a south Forsyth industrial property were items discussed at a recent Forsyth County Board of Commissioners meeting

All items were approved by a 4-0 vote, with District 4 Commissioner Cindy Jones Mills absent, unless otherwise noted.

Asphalt plant

One of the most contentious zoning issues in south Forsyth took a turn during the meeting, as commissioners voted to remove without prejudice a request for a county-initiated conditional-use permit (CUP) to build a new asphalt plant on Granite Lane, just off Peachtree Parkway, which would replace a current asphalt plant about 0.7 miles away that is part of a quarry owned by C.W. Matthews.

County Attorney Ken Jarrard said some “older zoning conditions” for operating hours, being visible from the road and that the site be limited to a ready-mix concrete plant that had previously been approved would mean the decision would have needed both a CUP and to fix the conditions.

“In the meantime, I think the district commissioner has had some concerns that not only doing the initiation of the CUP but then also using that same process for a mechanism to remove the conditions might not lend itself to the traditional county-initiated model and that if, in fact, there is an interest in relocating this plant to another site, that may not be off the table but it probably doesn’t need to be by way of a county-initiated product,” Jarrard said.

With the county removing their request, the property owner can now submit an application.

County-initiated decisions are often a quicker process than those submitted by developers, which had been one of several issues for neighbors.

At a recent meeting, neighbors packed the commissioners’ meeting room to raise concerns about the future land use of the area, safety and the proximity of the new location to some homes.

Those speaking in favor of the plant said the new use would be quieter, more environmentally-friendly and less odorous than the existing plant and said there had been misinformation spreading in the community.

RUS-AL

After a recent decision by commissioners related to RUS-AL (USA) Inc., which operates a truck terminal at 755 Union Hill Road, near the intersection with McFarland Parkway, a new request may be coming through.

Commissioners took action at a previous meeting to deny requests to amend zoning conditions on the property and for a conditional-use permit with variances to operate an open storage yard with 133 parking spaces for an existing 18,000-square-foot building with 26 parking spaces.

A decision on whether to approve a sketch plat for the property was postponed until February and will require a public hearing.

At the commission’s most recent meeting, the board voted to decide on whether to rescind the vote of the previous CUP request at a future meeting and to approve a county-initiated CUP process to operate an open storage yard related to an automobile services establishment and to approve a county-initiated sketch plat process for an automobile services establishment.

Jarrard said there was likely a “win-win” settlement for both parties and the property would be used for an automobile service establishment, which he said was different than the current use.

District 3 Commissioner Todd Levent said the property, which residents had opposed being used for truck storage, would still be used to store and work on some vehicles.

“What they’re looking to do is use the existing large green building that is there now as the rear building, and in that building, they’re planning on doing body shop-type stuff – mostly classics, antiques and such kind of cars like that,” said Levent. “They want to build a new building in front that is going to be very nice looking building and utilize it as a museum/showroom, if you will.”

Throughout the process, residents have brought up issues of traffic, safety, the proximity to nearby DeSana Middle School, aesthetics and the future use of the area, and several neighbors spoke at a previous meeting against the proposal.

FurKids

The two locations of FurKids, both on Union Hill Road, albeit about three miles away from each other, will be coming together at the pet rescue’s new facility.

Commissioners approved a request for the company to operate a veterinary clinic and kennels with outdoor facilities with a residence for a caretaker or night watchman and an event venue for buildings totaling 34,564 square feet with 103 parking space on 9.1 acres at 5235 Union Hill Road.

Founded in 2002, Furkids has been headquartered in Doraville, but the organization is working quickly to get their new home up and running.

The new facility features ponds, waterfalls, walking trails and spaces for outdoor events, while the building will be used to host events, provide spaces for volunteering and have adoptions for dogs and cats.