NORTH FORSYTH -- A proposed new plan for the Coal Mountain area in north Forsyth is beginning to take shape.
At a recent meeting, the Forsyth County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved extending the area of a moratorium on the acceptance of land disturbance permits for most commercial developments around Coal Mountain to include parcels at the intersection of Elmo Road, Matt Highway (Hwy. 369 west) and Bannister Road.
“We got very close, but we also believe to capture what the district commissioner had in mind, and candidly, what the board is attempting to address, we needed to add … some additional parcels,” County Attorney Ken Jarrard said.
Jarrard said the county added a “handful” of parcels to the moratorium. The length of the moratorium was not extended, though it can be at a future meeting.
The 30-day moratorium was approved at a work session on Dec. 20 and affects portions of Districts 1, 4 and 5 and paves the way for a proposed overlay in the area that would primarily deal with architectural standards and aesthetics.
The area of the moratorium is diamond-shaped with four points.
The boundaries are the intersections of: Matt Hwy. and Bannister Road to the west; Keith Bridge Road (Hwy. 306 east) and Dahlonega Highway (Hwy. 9) to the south; Browns Bridge Road (Hwy. 369 east) at Six Mile Creek to the east; and Hopewell Road and Hwy. 9 to the north.
The day before the commission meeting, District 4 Commissioner Cindy Jones Mills held a special meeting with stakeholders around the area to discuss the moratorium and get input.
“I have heard from the community over and over and over, especially people in south Forsyth in the Haw Creek area … that they feel lost in our county; they feel they don’t have a place to belong because we have grown so fast,” Mills said.
Mills said the moratorium will give some control over “horrific zonings” approved over a decade ago.
“I know what is about to happen in Coal Mountain,” Mills said. “I know because it was zoned a decade ago and I know it is about to overtake us. And I know there is a window of opportunity to do it right, to do it effectively.”
She said development has been driven by the new Ga. 400 interchange coming to Hwy. 369, which will become Exit 18.
Brett Butler, with Butler Development Group, told Mills he respects the intent of the overlay but warned the board not to make similar mistakes as other municipalities that make it hard on developers.
“There’s plenty of other places to develop and to make it so cumbersome in the process, not just in expenditures, there’s just other places to make money, and I don’t make money waiting in committees to approve things,” he said.
The next step for the proposed overlay is to form a group that will create the plan. Public meetings and hearings will be held for the proposal as it moves forward.
Those wanting to give input can contact Mills at CJMills@forsythco.com.