by Jason Wright www.northfulton.com / Milton Herald
MILTON-- The completion of an important permit process for the city might have hit a stumbling block that could have unintended consequences for rural Milton.The permit, called the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System, or NPDES, is paramount for the city to receive state funding. The city has the permit contingent on passing two local ordinances: a litter control law and something called the conservation subdivision use ordinance.
The reason for those ordinances, City Attorney Angie Davis told City Council at its March 10 work session, is because Milton is part of the Metropolitan North Georgia Water Planning District. As such, Georgia law requires Milton to pass both ordinances.As it is written, the subdivision conservation law is meant to increase green space and reduce impact to local waterways. It has long been a part of the permit process.
Unfortunately, it's generally meant for more urban areas than Milton and could force developers in the city to increase their density to meet its requirements. In addition, it supersedes Milton's existing zoning laws that guard against high density development.Luckily, Davis said Milton doesn't have to pass the exact ordinance that's on the books, only something "substantially similar." So that leaves some wiggle room for the city to argue its case against the potential of higher density."I think the purpose [of the law] is to encourage lots of green space ... and I think in the city of Milton we do that a whole lot with our land classifications as we have them," she said.However, she admits it's not going to be easy to convince the Georgia Environmental Protection Division that Milton is doing enough on its own.
"They have their little box, and we don't fit in that box," she said.Council agreed to look at the proposed law and provide insight into what Davis and Community Development Director Tom Wilson can create to fulfill the requirements.