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Forsyth County OKs mixed development near Ga. 400

County officials say complex will benefit fast-growing area

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FORSYTH COUNTY, Ga. — Forsyth County commissioners approved a rezoning that will bring another 300 apartments online and possibly provide greater road safety in a rapidly growing part of the county.

WP South Acquisitions won approval Sept. 16 to rezone from multi-family residential and commercial business district to master planned district with variances and conditions. The 4-1 vote gives the developer the nod to construct up to 310 apartments on the 53-acre site on Settingdown Circle near Ga. 400. Site plans also call for 39,100 square feet of commercial and office space.

Commissioner Todd Levent voted against the approval.

“Too many apartments to a community can be detrimental,” Levent said.

During his 11 years in office, Levent said he only voted for apartments the first year of his term. Levent said apartments – renting instead of owning – does not allow one to be as connected to the community because you are not rooted; not buying the space.

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While county staff and the Planning Commission attached a lengthy list of conditions on construction, County Attorney Ken Jarrard said the key issue in the rezoning is a proposed thru road which will run through the new development, connecting Settingdown Circle on the south with The Falls apartment complex to the north.

The conduct and layout on the new property is fairly easy to condition, he said, but assuring that The Falls will provide access to the new street has been under negotiation for some time. Terms of the latest talks indicate that The Falls will agree to grant WP South Acquisitions access to its property to link up to the new road, Jarrard said.

“That’s a big deal, because that involves getting on another already developed apartment and basically commencing improvements on the property,” Jarrard said.

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Among the more than 40 conditions attached to the new development, the county is requiring the builder to construct the connecting roadway before issuing any certificates of occupancy.

“It’s been a labor, and we have had a lot of wonderful cooperation from everybody involved,” said Commission Chairwoman Cindy Jones Mills, who shepherded negotiations on the site that lies in her District 4.

Mills said the connecting street will give residents of The Falls safer entry and exit from their property.

Not only that, she said original plans for the new development called for roughly 300 townhomes constructed with single-family home conditions, forcing eyesores like tandem garages.

“It was awful,” Mills said. “This way we do get a safety feature in a road, and we get a much better-looking product.”

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Current plans submitted to the county call for 310 apartment units in eight buildings, with an estimated resident population of 465. Permanent access to the development will be from the right of way access, and all of the development’s interior streets and driveways will be privately owned and maintained.

Owners say they are shooting for a price range averaging $1,700 per month in rent, with two-bedroom units going for around $2,300.

Overall, the site includes 12 acres of residential, about 13 acres of commercial and more than 26 acres of open space.

Tiffany Morgan contributed to this report.

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