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Building permits in Forsyth County were way down in 2019
FCN The Orchards at Central Park 4 010919
Construction crews clear land on Keith Bridge Road on Monday, Jan. 8 2019 that will become The Orchards of Central Park, a 160-home development marketed to the 55-and-older community. - photo by Brian Paglia

The number of building permits given by Forsyth County in 2019 was way down from the previous year.

Per officials with the Forsyth County Department of Planning and Community Development, in 2019, 65 commercial building permits, 1,810 single-family permits and no multi-family or mobile home permits were given out, for a total of 1,875 total permits. The total is nearly half of the 2018 total, which saw 2,324 single-family, 1,205 multi-family, 14 mobile home and 90 commercial for 3,630 total permits.

Tom Brown, the county’s director of planning and zoning, said there are a few possible reasons for the reduction.

"The reduction is likely a combination of changes in the housing market and the addition of new regulations,” Brown said. “Our Comprehensive Plan anticipated that new regulations would likely slow development activity.”

Brown said in recent years, the county has taken “a more rigorous approval process for permitting that requires developers to meet a higher standard of design and connectivity.”

The 2019 total is a reduction from 2016’s total of 3,531 permits – 2,741 single-family permits, 675 multi-family, 12 mobile home and 103 commercial – and 3,053  permits in 2015 – 2,532 for single-family, 434 multi-family. 14 mobile homes and 73 commercial.

Brown said one reason for no multi-family zonings in 2019, a stark drop from previous years, was due to when the projects were zoned.

“Most of the multi-family development in 2017 and 2018 were rezoned years ago,” Brown said. “More recent approvals have focused on single-family developments. Most of the approved multi-family projects have already been developed.”

Along with Forsyth, the city of Cumming also saw a reduction in permit numbers in 2019.

According to information from city officials, in 2019, a total of 65 building permits were given to developers (57 residential and 8 commercial), down from 103 in 2018 (27 commercial and 76 residential); 112 in 2017 (64 commercial and 48 residential); and 133 permits in 2016 (47 commercial and 86 residential).