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Milton City Council stalls development with new moratorium

Kathy Beck

Milton resident Kathy Beck voices her passion for Crabapple’s history and her anxieties regarding impending development at the Milton City Council July 25 meeting.

MILTON, Ga. — The Milton City Council adopted a new moratorium July 25 that prohibits development plans and permit applications in an area in Mayfield.

The moratorium is an attempt to delay development until the city can codify a standard of aesthetics and uses for the types of buildings allowed in the area. City staff is in the process of creating a development and design overlay district that will set specific regulations of exterior features, facades and design elements for various structures. While the moratorium is in place, a new ordinance is being drafted that will further regulate the identified tax parcels.

The new moratorium differs slightly from an earlier version enacted June 20. The new ban now excludes one of the original 23 tax parcels covered. The entity that owns the exempt 1-acre, intends to use a pre-existing design to develop three single-family detached residential structures. According to City Attorney Ken Jarrard, the parcel’s density is consistent with what the overlay will require.

The moratorium will remain in effect until Dec. 20, unless a development and design overlay is adopted before then or the City Council formally sets a different time frame.

Mayor Peyton Jamison ensured that the moratorium would not stop development.

“This is not ‘no development.’ We’re going to take a pause and look and see what appropriate development can occur in the next six months,” Jamison said.

The council’s unanimous vote to adopt the moratorium followed public comment, which included a number of residents who voiced their concern over encroachment and the need for historic preservation. Most spoke in favor of the moratorium.

Kathy Beck, a longtime resident of the Milton area, said she and her husband both have rural upbringings. Because of that, Beck has a deep appreciation for Crabapple’s land and history and fears continual development.

“It’s very distressing to see that [Crabapple] could be trampled on,” Beck said. “What I would like to put forward for these kinds of historic properties – and this is a village, not just a single property – is that we get a different tool in our toolkit besides a hammer, because every problem seems like a nail on which we throw more buildings.”

While the moratorium is in effect, Comprehensive Plan 2040 will continue its course. Adopted in October 2021, the plan provides a road map for the community’s vision. Community input, through surveys and public meetings, played a large role in formulating the plan. Many comments focused on keeping Milton’s rural character intact, Milton Senior Planner Shubhangi Jangam said.

The Comprehensive Plan Advisory Committee explained potential solutions to address tabled issues. One tool presented by the committee is Urban Growth Boundaries (UGB), whose purpose is to protect rural farmland around an urban core. The goal is to transfer the current invisible UGBs onto the future land use map.

In other action at the Monday meeting, the council approved site plans for the Millstone Parc housing project. Millstone Parc will consist of nine duplexes (18 individual units) on 1.4 acres on the corner of Webb Road and Deerfield Parkway with a density of 12.85 units per acre.