FORSYTH COUNTY, Ga. — Forsyth County Commissioners voted unanimously Feb. 6 on a plan to separate the highly controversial third phase of Lakes at Franklin Goldmine subdivision from the other two established developments.
“We are pleased to have received a unanimous vote by the commissioners to separate Phase 3,” said Sean Harris, a Lakes at Franklin Goldmine resident.
Harris and Scott Littlewood, another resident of the subdivision have been instrumental in pushing for the separation.
American Homes 4 Rent is developing the third phase of the neighborhood, located in the western part of the county, as for-rent properties. Plans call for 95 single-family, rental homes.
“The first thing that we learned was the company that was building those homes was called American Homes 4 Rent,” Harris said. “They own five lots in Phase 2 and [the lots] usually stood out as being different. The name alone certainly got everyone’s attention. Sadly, we found out not only did AH4R own those lots, they were the [developer] for all of Phase 3.”
When they learned details of the Phase 3 development last October, residents of the established neighborhoods in Phase 1 and 2 mobilized to protest, claiming that a subdivision of rental homes would lower their property values.
Since that time, District 1 County Commissioner Molly Cooper, who represents the area, said she has worked with the developer and residents to draw up a compromise that would address the concerns of the established neighborhoods.
The end proposal, approved by the commission Feb. 6, calls for completely separating the last phase from the existing development.
While the existing neighborhood has an entrance off Franklin Goldmine Road, the new development would have its own entrance off Heardsville Road.
Conditions also call for “no connectivity of any kind” between the two owner-occupied home developments and Phase 3. The new homes will also be required to have a minimum of 2,000 square feet of heated floor space outside of a garage, basement or porch.
Commission Chairman Laura Semanson congratulated Cooper for her work in getting both sides together to work out a solution.
For her part, Cooper credited the developer, the residents and county planning staff.
“There’s been a lot of us who had to put our heads together on this,” Cooper said.