If you’re looking for a late Christmas gift idea for your Forsyth County commissioner, I have the perfect gift.
The rubber stamp got used a lot in 2013. Forsyth’s Board of Commissioners approved every residential zoning application that came before them in the busy year. There were twenty-two in total and every single one was approved.
To put that into comparison, Alpharetta’s City Council rejected two of eleven residential zonings that came before them. I didn’t thoroughly check Milton’s voting record but I know of at least one they turned down in 2013 (the Deerfield apartments).
Forsyth’s dubious distinction comes during a year when the floodgates were opened in the housing market. Developers are pouring in, wanting to build homes on very small lots. Yet the county’s network of two-land country roads and overcrowded schools are ill-equipped to handle the onslaught. Grassroots organizations are springing into action to push back, but at this point have been largely ineffective.
It begs the question – is there a zoning application Forsyth County wouldn’t approve? What does it look like? Where are the limits with these commissioners? Violating the county’s land use plan doesn’t seem to phase them. The unified development code? Most zonings are granted variances to skirt rules on setback distances. Cram ‘em in!
Apartments have been fine with these guys. And putting townhomes on country roads next to estate homes will pass unanimously.
So we’ll watch 2014 to see if anything changes with these guys. A few are up for re-election, unfortunately south Forsyth’s Brian Tam isn’t among them. It doubtful he will find the “nay” button on his voting machine anytime soon.