An industrial park in north Forsyth has taken a big step forward following an approval from the Forsyth County Board of Commissioners.
At the latest regular meeting Thursday, Aug. 4, commissioners voted to approve a request to rezone 55.4 acres from agricultural district (A1) to restricted industrial district (M1) for warehouse/office buildings totaling 636,050 square feet off Settingdown, Church and Martin roads.
The application also included a request for conditional use permits (CUPs) for the following uses:
• Outdoor commercial recreational facilities;
• Micro-distilleries and micro-breweries;
• Office commercial multiple story (OCMS) zoning district uses and performance standards;
• Open storage yards not exceeding 20% of the total lot;
• Research laboratories and ancillary manufacturing;
• Transportation, communication and utility facilities, except trucks terminals;
• Kennels, animal hospitals and veterinary clinics;
• Cold storage plants and frozen food lockers;
• Bowling alley;
• And conducting around the clock business.
The application also asks for variances to reduce zoning buffers along the western and eastern property boundaries, reduce the undisturbed stream buffer, reduce the impervious setback, reduce landscape strips along all future side and rear lot lines and reduce the percentage of bicycle parking for non-residential uses.
The decision follows a public hearing held before the board on Thursday, July 21. At this meeting, commissioners voted to postpone a decision on the item following a request from the applicant’s attorney, Christopher Light.
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District 4 Commissioner Cindy Jones Mills, who represents the area, was absent from the July meeting, and commissioners voted to postpone the decision until she returned.
According to Light, the developer wished to work with a third-party architect review before commissioners made a final vote.
At the July meeting, Light said the industrial park site plan contemplated three main buildings to be used for office, industrial or warehouse space. Two other buildings are proposed for the site for office or “possibly retail” space.
Light also acknowledged that Martin Road was the “most residential area” that abutted the project, and he told commissioners that trucks would not be allowed to enter or exit the property from that road; only employee vehicles would be permitted to use the entrance.
Slade Gulledge, vice president of economic development for the Forsyth County Chamber of Commerce, said he, along with the chamber, were in favor of the project at the public hearing in July.
“This is a quality developer building a quality product, and we’re here to support it,” Gulledge said. “We’ve been following this for about a year now.”
No one at the public hearing spoke against the proposal
The item returned before the board as a decision-only item on Thursday where commissioners heard from Light that the applicant had been working with a third-party architect review in the last two weeks to create a historical relationship within the Coal Mountain Overlay.
Mills said it was difficult to write conditions to “guarantee” desired architectural elements.
She said she thought the current conditions placed on the project were the “closest we can get to making sure that the quality that we are bringing forward will be the quality that will go on the ground.”
One condition Mills noted was a requirement for the developer to contribute $20,000 to “the beautification of that roundabout” on Martin and Settingdown roads. The beautification contemplated could look like “enhanced landscaping,” a “public art feature” or both.
Chairman Alfred John, after hearing Light’s presentation, said the project reminded him of the Dexter Companies business park on Shiloh Road in south Forsyth.
Both requests for a rezoning and CUPs were approved with a unanimous 5-0 vote.