FORSYTH COUNTY, Ga. — The Forsyth County Board of Commissioners voted Sept. 3 to extend its moratorium barring select new residential developments. The moratorium prohibits any land disturbance permits for multi- and single-family attached developments in certain areas of the county.
The moratorium addresses properties zoned Res4, single-family attached duplexes for age-restricted homes; Res6, attached single-family homes; and R3, townhomes and low-density apartments or condominiums.
Commissioners enacted the moratorium in March while they consider modifications to the county’s Unified Development Code dealing with architectural requirements.
The county put the ban in effect for Res6 earlier this year, but discussions among county staff and board members spurred additional moratoriums on the other zoning categories.
County Attorney Ken Jarrard said the prohibition of land disturbance permits prevents developers from fast-tracking applications for developments with the knowledge that the county is working to update its codes.
“It’s the equivalent of closing the barn door when all the horses have left is what happens without the moratorium,” Jarrard said to commissioners at a work session earlier this year.
The county finalized updated standards for certain detached single-family homes last year that set regulations for exterior materials, landscaping, windows, home orientation and other components.
The county has since turned its attention to attached homes, and the process has lasted most of the year, which Planning & Community Development Director Tom Brown predicted. He told commissioners at a work session earlier this year that it would take months to bring commissioners drafted design stipulations.
The standards could have added significance for developments in the northern portion of the county. According to Brown, there are about 15 Res6 and R3 developments in the county and most are in north Forsyth.
That is a point of concern for District 4 commissioner Cindy Jones Mills, who represents all the northernmost portions of the county.
Mills said there are essentially “no standards” on Res6 or R3 developments earlier this year, and she has stressed the importance of the county creating design stipulations. Previous discussions among commissioners centered on creating standards for individual lots, not entire subdivisions.
One property zoned Res6 adjacent to the Ansley at Pilgrim Mill subdivision will be exempt from the moratorium.
Jarrard said the rezoning for the development came with a condition the proposed attached homes have a similar appearance to homes in Ansley at Pilgrim Mill. If the UDC was changed, Jarrard said, the developer could be presented with separate regulations for their proposed homes, and he suggested the county err on the side of the original zoning conditions.
The board voted to extend the moratorium until Dec. 4. The county can end the ban at any time, including if they approve new standards.