Forsyth HOA and Homeowner’s Report Card
During election season (which seems like it is always), the mission of this forum is often lost. This is for everyone new to this forum, and for those who are not… this is a reminder:
Forsyth HOA & Homeowners, and the Homeowner’s Coalition is a group of community volunteers who advocate for policies that support our goals for properly managed growth in Forsyth County. We are taxpayers in this county just like you! We are your neighbors. We drive the same roads. Our kids and grandkids attend the same schools. Our payoff is nothing more than preservation of our quality of life, our property values and the natural beauty of Forsyth.
Most of us joined Forsyth HOA because of a problem we saw in our community, and we were looking for solutions. Why are our roads so packed? Why are we decades behind in road funding? Why are our schools so overcrowded? Why do they level nearly every tree when putting in a new neighborhood? And many of us joined because a yellow or orange zoning sign popped up behind our homes.
Our page admins are volunteers who participate because we are passionate about preserving Forsyth County’s inherent beauty, history and quality of life. We want to protect the largest investment most of us will ever make - our home values. Forsyth has experienced unbridled growth in recent years that has put a strain on infrastructure, resulted in tremendous debt, increased taxes, and impacted the quality of life for many. Realistically, none of us can stop growth. We believe Forsyth needs to move from being reactive to being proactive and responsible in managing the growth. We have no desire to take away landowner’s constitutional rights. We want ALL Forsyth taxpayers to have a voice with our elected officials. We don’t hold ourselves out to be representative of ALL Forsyth taxpayer views or desires. Our intentions are to serve all of Forsyth – North, South, East, West. We have no hidden agendas or ulterior motives for what we do. We derive no financial gain from our efforts, directly or indirectly. The only money we collect is from newsletter sponsors to cover the expense of publishing the newsletter. We have no hidden agendas or ulterior motives.
As many of you know, we have five Forsyth County Commissioners who have immense influence over the solutions to the problems plaguing Forsyth. Their votes have a huge impact on whether we manage growth appropriately, or we experience the same decline as counties around. We look for and support candidates who will represent the taxpayers of Forsyth ahead of the “alternate interest groups” that focus on profiting at the taxpayer’s expense.
Forsyth HOA and Homeowners is one of several “like-minded” community volunteer groups that were all founded for the same reason, managed growth. Those groups include, Smart Growth Forsyth County, Forsyth Citizens for Responsible Growth, Post Road Committee for Proper Development, Fix Forsyth Traffic and North Forsyth Homeowner Alliance. Separately we were fighting battles non-stop. Our attempts to be “heard” by our elected officials were by and large falling on deaf ears. In October 2013, the members of these groups had a “summit” of sorts to discuss how we could work on our common goals to create a louder voice. That meeting resulted in a “Pledge” we asked our commissioners to embrace to create a better balance of growth in Forsyth.
Our page members and admins and other coalition group members have been rolling up their sleeves and taking positive steps to be part of solutions to very complex issues. Just to name a few of many examples – we’ve participated on the impact fee committee and the vision and steering committees for the Comprehensive Plan Update. We participate in town hall meetings, land use map meetings, planning meetings, and Board of Commissioner meetings. We’ve spent countless hours doing research and collecting and analyzing relevant data. We work to inform citizens through our FB pages, newsletters and meetings & phone calls with citizens. Here is a list of just a few things the Homeowner’s Coalition is proud to have accomplished.
1. Drawing attention to the abuse of zoning variances and applying pressure to see them significantly reduced.
2. Applying pressure to see RES3 lot sizes via a petition with thousands of signatures, the most prolific zoning category used in the County, increased to 14,750 square feet. This is basically the size they were when the land use map was approved. They were reduced a few years years ago 30% to less than 1/4 of an acre.
3. Forming petitions which resulted in the only significant RES2 zonings the County has seen this decade. Those include Mathis Airport zoning, the Kliros Zoning adjacent to Creekstone, and the zoning off Campground Road. These developments would be RES3 or higher today if not for public mobilization.
4. Helping put a stop to the rampant RES4 approval that was happening in 2013 by calling on Commissioners to follow the land use map and educating homeowners of the detachment between our plan and zoning trajectory.
5. The Peachtree Parkway Overlay design standard project.
6. Pushing for impact fees to ensure development pay for the cost of its impact on our infrastructure. For the first time in the history of our County, we now have impact fees for roads.
7. A massive letter writing campaign to keep zoning attorneys from re-writing our UDC to allow apartments to be approved when there was a moratorium on apartments.
8. Putting pressure on our State Delegates to change the state constitution to allow impact fees to be charged for schools.
9. Petitions to reduce the density in several different neighborhoods along Old Atlanta Road, Nichols Road, Campground Road, Spot Road, Hurt Bridge Road, Mathis Airport Parkway and 141.
10. Petition against county initiated zonings in cases that do not demonstrate extreme hardship or unique circumstances.
Most importantly, we have educated people on how to navigate the zoning process and to stand up for themselves and their rights as taxpayers in this county. We are imperfect but we try to own and learn from our mistakes. We have learned a lot since we started and we certainly have a lot to learn. All-in-all taxpayers that felt they had no voice have joined hands in working to solve issues and have made positive, meaningful contributions. Let’s not be distracted or discouraged by those who wish to divide us or destroy our good efforts.
Your Forsyth HOA & Homeowner’s Team