FORSYTH COUNTY, Ga. — The Forsyth County Commission voted June 8 to impose a one-month moratorium on land disturbance permits for certain residential properties on large lots.
The action applies to those parcels zoned R2R, a single family residential restricted district.
Over the past two years, the county has enacted several moratoriums to maintain the status quo while it updates the Unified Development Code. The latest update, however, fails to list R2R among the residential zoning categories.
Similar to other residential zoning categories, R2R allows for low to medium density residential development with a maximum density of 1.71 units per acre when serviced by individual onsite sewage disposal.
County Attorney Ken Jarrard said he would like commissioners to identify any new standards it wants to add for R2R properties for inclusion in the updated code. Much of R2R property now has few conditions.
Commissioner Laura Semanson asked whether the property owners are exempt from the updates because of a grandfather clause.
Jarrard answered that if they are in construction, they may be.
“If they are sitting fallow, if there are no pending permits, and they are just idle, then I think we have the ability to change our codes, and they would have to comply with those codes.”
Planning and Community Development Director Tom Brown said that the residential design standards the county adopted in 2019 would not currently apply to R2R. Those standards include architectural and building requirements, such as windows, building materials and other design features.
Right now, Brown said the county has an estimated 300 acres of undeveloped R2R property, stretching along Bethel Road, Browns Bridge Road, Wallace Wood Road, Buford Highway and other areas. The smallest parcels are between 10-15 acres, but many are 40-50 acres, he said.
Commissioner Todd Levent said he would like updates to include minimum square footage and design standards on the properties. That process, he said, generally takes about two months with the required public hearings.
“This is all about things that are zoned that don’t have conditions on them and trying to get design standards on them,” Levent said.
Commissioners agreed that the moratorium would run one month and would apply only to land disturbance permits. It does not apply if an R2R-zoned property already has made application for a permit or to new applications whose developers are willing to submit to the recently adopted architectural design standards that cover South Forsyth County.
The first public hearing to modify the county’s architectural design standards for R2R properties will be held July 8.