Thanks to your involvement, we gathered over 5,000 signatures on the "Stop High Density" petition. We presented it to the Board of Commissioners on September 19th along with some great speeches from other Forsyth County residents. As a result, the BOC voted 5-0 in favor of reducing the requested ZA3625 Nichols Road zoning from RES 4 with variances to RES 3 no variances. The result is approximately 20% less homes.
Additional thanks to the hard work of many concerned citizens in District 3, many positive impacts are being seen including: the exploration by the principles of the Post Road Assisted Living facility of a 2 story building instead of a 3 story building to better fit the character of the area; fast-tracking of the Mullinax Road project; and the challenge by residents living off Echols Road to impact Residential Zonings.
In the news...
In addition to the impressive rate of organization among concerned Forsyth County citizens, there is also an increased level of media pickup regarding issues related to county-wide growth:
This past Friday, members from four Forsyth County homeowners' advocate organizations got together for a "Summit" meeting. Forsyth County Citizens for Responsible Growth, FixForythTraffic.com, Smart Growth Forsyth and Forsyth HOA & Homeowners met for 3 hours and are working together to broaden, strengthen and amplify the voice of Forsyth County homeowners. We will have more to share in a future newsletter.
ALL Forsyth County residential rezoning requests are South of Highway 20. ALL are asking for lot sizes less than 1/4 acre. Most are requesting variances to build homes closer together.
South Forsyth has turned into what one blogger has called a "Developer Free-For-All". Our families, children and vehicles pay the price for the traffic and school overcrowding brought on by rezoning decisions.
In case you missed it...
At the outset of the September 19th, 2013 Board of Commissioners' meeting, Commissioner Jim Boff (R - District #5) provided the following opening remarks:
"It has come to my attention that the county has reached a limiting situation to its growth.
The first limit is Taxes. 1.With the generous approval of the voting public, the county hasbeen building roads, water treatment plants, courthouse/jail,animal shelters, fire stations, green space, libraries, rec centers,greenways and so forth even during the slow economic times. We have provided enormous funding for the city of Cumming in theform of a water contract and a split of the SPLOST moneys. 2. The income from SPLOST VI which was mostly for roadimprovements has now ended. SPLOST VII will not have anymoney available for road projects for at least 3 years because weare using all of the proceeds during that time frame to pay for the jail and courthouse. 3. Finally, weary of paying taxes the voters recently rejectedTSPLOST. Just call it “taxpayer fatigue”.
The second limit is sewer. The growth in the southern part of the county requires sewer. ThisBoard had been in negotiations to acquire private sewer in anothercounty which, because of its huge capacity, could have enabled aninstant doubling in density here. I have consistently opposed thisplan and now those negotiations have fallen through. The County now is in the process of building a smaller sewersystem in District 2. We already have the permit for this but thenew plant won't be finished for several years, and so we havereached yet another limit.
The third limit is water. The EPD has not approved one drop of additional water for thecombined City and County water intake above the amount we havehad in years past. This, despite meetings with the mayor, thegovernor, and the EPD together. In years past we have alreadybumped up against these water limits, and, combined with thecontinuing legal uncertainty about the future of Lake Lanier, makesthe limit of water coupled with its potentially unfair distribution, agrowth stopper in some parts of the county and a growthaccelerator in the southern part of the county.
Therefore, I am calling on all of you to encourage, and on the Board of Commissioners to: a. Modify the future land use map, and the Character Area Mapto reflect a more reasonable density, and, b. Limit the rate of zonings especially in the areas which arealready out of resources, until we can clearly see the plan forthe expansion of the schools, the resolution of the sewer plantin the southern end of the county, and a path forward for watersupply increases and distribution management, as well as thesource of the funding for these plans. Otherwise at the current rate of growth, anything else will just betweaking things, and we, the taxpayers will be challenged to fight,one zoning, after another after another.”
Call and E-Mail All 5 Commissioners to let them know how you feel about High Density as it relates to:
School overcrowding and redistricting
Lack of sufficient recreation space per resident
Damage to environment
Reduced property values driven by overcrowding
Higher taxes driven by expensive infrastructure projects "after the fact"
Reconsidering how density is calculated by excluding non-buildable acreage
"Please be firm and direct yet respectful"
Currently, Forsyth County Commissioners are voted on within their districts and NOT District-wide. This means that only District #2 voters, for instance, can vote in the District #2 race.
How strongly do you feel that Forsyth County should return to County-wide voting for all Districts?
For our County to be successful and for our community to continue to be a great place to live, work and play we need a good balance of Residential AND Commercial development.
In our community, Commercial generally means retail and professional buildings (i.e not industrial). If they are designed well, these commercial developments can effectively increase the beauty and convenience of our community and provide a fertile tax base to keep our taxes low. If there is a tract of land for sale next to your neighborhood, don't assume that residential is the better option. Residential brings with it a burden on our infrastructure; a burden that can be alleviated by the taxes created by commerce. Get involved and make sure your Board of Commissioners place requirements on commercial developers to provide an aesthetically beautiful and environmentally responsible plan.
What is the deal with Impact Fees?
Impact Fees are fees paid by builders and developers to offset the infrastructure and beautification improvements required as a result of their projects. The purpose is for municipalities to place the burden of these improvements on those who are profiting from the new construction.
The table below compares Impact Fees for select counties.
If you have an opinion regarding Forsyth County Impact Fees, please start a conversation on our facebook page