• Forsyth County orders billboard company to replace trees along GA 400

    By: Berndt Petersen

    FORSYTH COUNTY, Ga. - Drive down Georgia 400 through Forsyth County, and you're surrounded by cars and trees, until you reach a massive bare spot between exits 12 and 13 on the southbound side. 

    County officials say a billboard company had all of the trees in that space cut down so drivers could see the billboards. The space is about the size of six to seven football fields and the county says they are now taking the company to task over cutting down all the trees.

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    "You need to comply with zoning conditions. Otherwise, everybody is going to start clearing back into there, clearing out things that they shouldn't be clearing," said Forsyth County Commissioner Todd Levent.

    Levent says about 1,800 - 2,000 feet of trees were cleared.

    Now, 18 months later, Forsyth County has ordered the company to replant the trees.

    "A homeowner or any kind of business doesn't pay attention, and they go out and do that and they have to go back and replant. It's very expensive," Levent said.

    While the billboard company had a GDOT permit to clear trees, Levent says chainsaws were used on private property, which violates county codes.

    The county now has a ban on any new billboards.

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