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Thursday, May 29, 2008

Milton Gets New Development Head

Alice Wakefield

By Jason Wright / Appen Newspapers

Milton's City Hall got a new face last week in the person of Alice Wakefield, the city's new Community Development director.

She replaced the city's former director, Tom Wilson, May 27. He has moved into CH2M HILL OMI's corporate offices in Sandy Springs, where he will oversee all the community development departments for the company.Wakefield, who spent the last two years as Atlanta's director of the Bureau of Planning and 11 years as deputy director of Planning for Fulton County, said making the jump to Milton was like coming back home."Working in Fulton, I got to know a lot of these folks," she said. "I'm familiar with them."

Wakefield said she's been brought up to speed on Milton's Comprehensive Plan update efforts and historic and tree preservation ordinance campaigns."I'm looking forward to making Milton the best city in the state," she said.In addition, the community planning veteran said she's prepared for Milton's often contentious land-use battles and looks forward to finding the best ways to carry out City Council's vision."You have to deal with the desires to maintain the area's rural characteristics and introduce city issues," she said.

For his part, Wilson said he's loved working in Milton but is "very psyched" for his new opportunity.'I'm leaving Milton with a very experienced community development director," he said.Looking back on his roughly 18 months of full-time service with the city – he served as director of both Johns Creek and Milton in an interim position prior to incorporation – Wilson said it is fairly mind blowing to see all the progress the new cities have made in such a small amount of time."It's nothing short of a miracle," he quipped.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Announcement From The Milton Gardening Club!


The Milton Community Market (MCM) is a place where you can sell your locally grown produce, handmade crafts, art, and more. The market is to be held one Saturday per month, June through September. Sponsored by the Milton Gardening Club, the market will take place in the ‘Grove’ at Scottsdale Farms on Birmingham Hwy in Milton. There is no vendor fee for Milton residents; non-residents must pay a one-time registration fee of $15.00. Please note that we will be billing the market as a ‘buy, sell, and trade’ market so be aware that some customers may try to barter or trade with you.

Mark these market dates on your calendar:
June 28th
July 26th
Aug 30th
Sept. 27th

All Markets are held from 9a.m. until 1pm

Please fill out the form below and return it to the address listed on the bottom

NAME____________________________________________________

ADDRESS_________________________________________________

__________________________________________________

PHONE #________________________________________________

PHONE # ALTERNATE_______________________________________

MILTON RESIDENT? Y / N (circle one)

NON-RESIDENT FEE OF $15 ENCLOSED? Y / N (non-residents only)

WHAT WILL YOU BE SELLING?
Produce
What type of produce?_____________________________
Baked Goods
Crafts
Art
Honey
Eggs
Chickens

OTHER. Please Describe ______________________________________________
______________________________________________

Please return to:
Sharon Murphy
1720 Windsor Cove
Milton, GA 30004

Milton, Johns Creek Management Firm Still Not Evaluated

By JEREMY REDMON www.ajc.com

A year and a half after they split from Fulton County hoping to deliver better services to taxpayers, the cities of Milton and Johns Creek have not yet tracked how well they're reaching that goal.

As Sandy Springs did before them, Milton and Johns Creek took a new approach and hired a private company to manage nearly all their government services, except their police and fire departments.

Milton and Johns Creek officials, as well as many city residents and businessmen interviewed, say they generally are happy with the performance of Englewood, Colo.-based CH2M Hill Inc. But city leaders say they have been too busy with other priorities to set benchmarks by which they can precisely measure the company's performance, a responsibility called for in their multimillion-dollar contracts.

City leaders say they are still months away from doing that. Both cities renewed their annual contracts with CH2M Hill last year without having the benchmarks in place.

Milton Mayor Joe Lockwood said he has been pleased with CH2M Hill's work compared with the way Fulton did things. However, turnover in Milton's city manager position has prevented the city from setting up a way to measure the company's performance, he said. Lockwood said the city is relying on the new city manager, Billy Beckett, to help draft those benchmarks.
"Now that we have got over a year under our belt with them, we have something to compare it to," Lockwood said.

Johns Creek officials say they also have been happy with CH2M Hill but have been preoccupied with establishing their own police and fire departments."It's high on the priority list," Johns Creek Mayor Mike Bodker said.

Bodker, meanwhile, says he wants to ultimately make CH2M Hill's costs and profits transparent. For now, Johns Creek's budget offers little information about the city's payments to CH2M Hill.
Bodker said he would like to negotiate costs and profits with the company for future contracts, which could result in more detailed public budgets. For example, he is proposing that if the company comes in under budget, it would split its savings with Johns Creek.

Rick Hirsekorn, vice president of municipal services for CH2M Hill, declined to disclose the private company's profits running city services in North Georgia. But he said his company would consider Bodker's ideas. CH2M Hill says on its Web site that it has $5 billion in revenue and about 23,000 employees worldwide.

CH2M Hill officials said their company works closely with city officials and tracks performance with statistical reports. They said they stand ready to help the cities set benchmarks.
"Key performance measurements ... are very important to us," Hirsekorn said. "When it is a priority to them, our staff is anxious to develop the measures because we do have a lot of statistics and data."

Robert J. O'Neill Jr., executive director of the Washington-based International City/County Management Association, stressed the importance of these cities measuring how well CH2M Hill is doing.

CH2M Hill sees running city governments as a "growth area in the industry," Hirsekorn said. In addition to Milton and Johns Creek, CH2M Hill runs most government services forChattahoochee Hill Country, Sandy Springs and the Louisiana city of Central, a city that formed in 2005.

Hirsekorn said CH2M Hill is interested in doing work for Dunwoody should its residents vote for cityhood in a July 15 referendum and then decide to contract out their services. CH2M Hill recently contributed $2,500 to the Citizens for Dunwoody Inc., a nonprofit group that pushed for the cityhood referendum, to sponsor a "Dunwoody Right to Vote Celebration" on May 12.

Citizens for Dunwoody is now studying whether Dunwoody should hire a private company such as CH2M Hill to run its new government or go with a more traditional approach if residents vote for cityhood.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Milton Honors Its Veterans

By DOUG NURSE http://www.ajc.com/

Rows of crosses erected Tuesday on a section of Deerfield Road bear silent tribute to Milton's deceased veterans going back to the Civil War. Each white marker is embossed in black with the name of a veteran and the conflict in which he served.

On Monday, after a brief Memorial Day ceremony at City Hall, the veterans' families will be given American flags. They will march up Deerfield Road about an eighth of a mile and place Old Glory in the top of the cross with their relative's name.

Councilman Bill Lusk came up with the idea for the markers after seeing similar memorials in Duluth. "This is one of the most important holidays that needs to be recognized by all of us," Lusk said. "The result of their sacrifices allows us to enjoy our freedom. All gave some, some gave all."

Lusk, a Vietnam veteran, paid for the materials, assembled the 44 markers, and erected them.

They will stay in place until a week after Memorial Day, he said.The ceremony on Monday starts at 10 a.m. The keynote speaker will be Nick Snider, founder of the National Museum of Patriotism. He will be joined by the Milton High School choral, the Roswell High School ROTC, and numerous veterans. There will be a roll call of the deceased veterans

Corps Question Wieland About N. Fulton Wall In Stream

By JEREMY REDMON http://www.ajc.com/

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is investigating whether prominent developer John Wieland Homes and Neighborhoods violated the federal Clean Water Act by erecting a roughly 18-foot-high retaining wall in the middle of a stream in north Fulton County.

The corps sent Wieland a letter May 5 announcing the probe and asking for information about the developer's work on a 60-acre site near the intersection of Birmingham Highway and Crabapple Road. Wieland did not get a federal permit to erect the wall in a stream, the letter says.

Meanwhile, the Georgia Environmental Protection Division is investigating whether Wieland violated state law, which requires buffers for streams.

The unnamed stream flows year-round and drains into Copper Sandy Creek, a tributary of the Little River, which empties into the Etowah River and Lake Allatoona, according to the Coosa River Basin Initiative.

Wieland officials say they erected the wall to prevent stream bank erosion and to protect water quality. Last week, water trickled down a stream a short distance from one side of the wall, while murky water pooled between what appeared to be natural stream banks on the other side.
Wieland officials say they relied on Fulton County when it marked the boundaries of the stream and then approved the wall's location in 2006, before the city of Milton broke off from the county and formed around the area. Fulton County spokeswoman Jessica Corbitt said the construction plans the county approved did not show a wall in any wetlands.

Chief Executive John Wieland said his company is applying to the corps for the wall's approval. Wieland officials have voluntarily stopped work on the site, according to the corps, and are cooperating with the investigation and have hired an environmental consultant to answers the corps' questions. "We had a change in development management, and we prepared the request to the corps, but in the changeover it was never mailed," said Wieland, a renowned Atlanta businessman and philanthropist.

Called "Braeburn," Wieland's development is planned to include 45 houses, 49 townhouses and about 53,000 square feet of office space. Neighbors reported the wall to federal authorities, according to the corps.

State environmental officials and the city of Milton are pointing at each other over the matter.
State officials say they are looking to the city of Milton to take action. Bert Langley, manager of the EPD's Mountain District office, said Wieland could be required to take down the wall.
A top city official said Friday he was awaiting word from the state.

Joe Cook, executive director and riverkeeper for the Coosa River Basin Initiative, said his organization is prepared to take legal action, if state and federal authorities don't require Wieland to take down the wall. "They have basically used the stream as a dumping ground for their dirt," Cook said. "It has destroyed that portion of the stream above the wall, and it is creating increased storm water runoff below the wall and causing erosion of the stream on downstream property owners."

Wieland officials deny the wall has damaged any streams and insist they have reduced the rate of water flowing off their site onto neighboring properties.

Last week, Milton's Board of Zoning Appeals granted Wieland a variance to let another retaining wall on the site encroach into a required stream buffer. Wieland applied for the variance after the wall was built. City officials worried requiring Wieland to remove that wall would cause more damage to the stream compared to letting it stand.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Mayor, Baseball Player Help Organize First Milton Bank.

http://www.northfulton.com/

MILTON --

A mayor and a baseball player are among the organizers of First Milton Bank, which will be a full-service community bank servining Milton and surrounding parts of North Fulton, Forsyth and Cherokee counties.Garland Pinholster, vice chairman of the Georgia Department of Transportation, leads the group of area business and community leaders for First Milton Bank, in organization.

Milton Mayor Joe Lockwood and of J.K. Lockwood Construction, and San Fransicso Giant baseball player Ryan Klesko join Pinholster as organizers. Other organizers are: Brent Baker, Brent Baker Inc.; Roy Bennett, president and CEO of First Milton Bank, IO; J.L. Howell, Polo Realty; Charles Hutson, Hutson Homes; David Mancuso, senior vice president of First Milton Bank IO; Dean Myers, CSC General Contractors; George Shropshire, Bartow Paving; Chuck Shultz, Summit Business Services; Richard Spear, KP&H LLC; David Walker, a manufacturing executive; and Orlando Wilson, 21st Century Holdings.After receiving approval from the Georgia Department of Banking and Finance, First Milton Bank IO, is preparing for the sale of stock.

The organizing group has a temporary office across the street from the proposed bank's permanent location, 13941 Cumming Highway in Milton near the intersection of Bethany Bend and Cumming Highway.Roy Bennett will serve as the bank's president and CEO. He has more than 30 years of banking experience, and has served in management and executive positions including president and CEO.Organizers anticipate opening First Milton Bank in spring. For information, call 678 672-3204.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Milton Seeking Input For City's Future

By DOUG NURSE www.ajc.com

OK, Miltonians, dig in your Fibber McGee closet and see if you can find your crystal ball, polish it with an old t-shirt, and take it to Summit Hill Elementary School on May 29 or 31.
City officials are asking residents to help them come up with a vision and a plan for what Milton should look like way into the future.

Led by consultants BRPH Inc., the event will provide residents and business owners with the opportunity to speak about projects and programs within the new city that are "uniquely Milton" and will chart a course in days to come, according to a prepared statement from the city.
This process is designed to be interactive and exciting for the citizens of Milton who choose to participate.

The statement said that residents will help the planners determine:
Which natural and cultural resources should be protected? What unique opportunities exist? How should threats be addressed? Where should different land uses be placed? How can infrastructure be provided? Who from the public and private realms should be responsible?
The May 29 session starts at 6 p.m., and the session May 31 session begins at 9 a.m.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Beckett Ready To Meet Milton Issues Head-On

City Manager Billy Beckett & Public Safety Director Chris Lagerbloom




by Hatcher Hurd Appen Newspapers

Milton's new City Manager Billy Beckett comes to the job with 30 years of government experience as county manager and city manager, and perhaps he's not a moment too soon.Milton, one of Georgia's two newest cities, is sorely lacking in experience. The City Council has been challenged by an inability to get on track smoothly, and a clash of personalities has made it difficult for them to act in concert.The council has no "corporate culture" to draw upon, since everything its members do is groundbreaking. The council also divested itself of its most experienced municipal expert when it dismissed former City Manager Aaron Bovos in August 2007.


In addition to personal squabbles, a petulant Fulton County government has done little to help the city transition into one of its 13 established cities.In an effort to introduce our readers to their new city manager, the Milton Herald sat down with Beckett to talk frankly about the issues and challenges that face the fledgling community. He quickly showed he was coming into the job with his eyes wide open.



MILTON HERALD: What interested you in taking on this job? It certainly is no easy task to lead a brand new city into these deep waters.

BECKETT: When I left Safety Harbor [Fla., the last city at which he served] I was seriously considering retirement. When I saw the Milton job advertised, I saw it as a unique opportunity to apply my skills in a city that is going to be around for a long time. I hope I can make a positive impact on the formation and foundation of what is already in place here. The newness of the city and the challenges associated with setting up policies and procedures was attractive – [as was] possibly educating some of the newly elected folks in a unique setting where we have a number of outsourced programs.



MH: You're speaking, of course, about CH2M HILL OMI, which the city employs to help run its government. Is that a situation you think will work here?

BECKETT: I think it has worked in other communities. I am going in with an open mind and my view from day one is this: I don't think Milton, Johns Creek or any of the new cities – Chattahoochee Hills is the other – could have gotten up and running given the time constraints that they had.I don't think they could have gotten the staffing required to start a new city any other way. I think the model is quite appropriate for that. In my three days' experience in working with CH employees, I find them to be just as dedicated and loyal as if they worked directly for the city.Of course one of the things I have been tasked with is to evaluate the contract to see if tweaking is necessary – to see if we leave it in place as is or make any modifications. But I have been deeply impressed by the level of experience, the loyalty and dedication of the CH employees to the city. It's an interesting model.When you look at the monumental task of ... finding qualified personnel in the limited market you have here, I don't see how they could have done it any other way.



MH: What is your assessment of the No. 1 job before you now?

BECKETT: There are a number of issues we need to attack right away, and the people here know better than me what they are. But what I have been able to discover some of them pretty quickly.The first thing I need to do is to establish a sense of compatibility and cohesion among some of the council members. If we don't get council members functioning as a unit, as a team, with an understanding of teamwork, mission, responsibility, and a sense of role, then we're sunk from the beginning.The other issues, such as the sewerage extension polices that are on the table, the transportation issues, the preservation of the quality of life, the desire to retain a rural character for the community – none of those things are going to occur if we don't have an improved approach to decision-making and the implementation of the policies.The short answer is: I think my first task is to pull those individuals together who are very talented and have very diverse points of view. We are going to participate in an education process that will enable them to move forward as a unit.Disagreement is a plus for a deliberative body. You don't want unanimity on every issue, it's boring and probably no one is doing their job. Debate is not only appropriate, I think it should be encouraged. But you can debate in an agreeable manner. And once a decision is made, I think you need to get behind the decision. You can always tweak it over time.You don't need to have disharmony, discord and disruption of the staff. My first goal is meeting with the council individually and being candid and then meet in some kind of retreat format to discuss how best to proceed.



MH: The issue of proliferation of sewerage seems to be the one of the top concerns among residents. Many see its limitation as a bulwark and an absolute way to control and limit growth. On the other hand, sewerage is safer, cleaner and is the only remedy for land that does not percolate for a septic system. Is there a place for sewers in Milton?

BECKETT: It is one element of many directly tied to land use. And I think control of land-use decisions was at the top or near the top in the people's decision to create a new city. Milton voters wanted control over land-use decisions, and clearly sewerage impacts land use decisions.I think it is critical to complete the comprehensive plan and the visioning process to spell out what the city should look like.The comprehensive plan will identify growth nodes and corridors of development, which would then show where sewer might be appropriate.The lower density areas with the horse farms and estate zoning, those are more compatible to septic systems. Putting aside health considerations, you do not want to promote sewer lines in those areas marked for low density because sewer lines do promote pressure for higher density development.So if you want to preserve rural areas and large lot sizes, you need to think carefully where you extend the pipe. It's been my observation that if you improve roads, run water lines and run sewer lines, you will find increased pressure on politicians – not just from the standpoint of development, but from litigation – to maximize the value of the property.Having said that, most septic systems are not going to last beyond 25 years. Ultimately we need balance. We need to balance the preservation of certain areas with the needs of those areas where sewer is appropriate, such as Ga. 9.



MH: Another critical issue for Milton, as well as all Fulton County, is that of transportation. Gridlock is the thief of quality of life. How should Milton approach that issue?

BECKETT: We need to evaluate transportation as soon as possible. We need to focus on the importance of transportation problems, and we need serious focus on the need for arterial and collector roads. That is just another way of saying the city needs a transportation plan. Signalization, widening and improvements need to be analyzed.Funding is limited. The city has $1 million in the budget for road improvements, and that is a drop in the bucket. The temptation is to defer the issue, but I see more cities get into deeper trouble by deferring problems because they just get worse.There has to be leadership to take on the task, and that involves an educational process as well. You know going in you won't please everybody. Elected officials have to be willing to spend some political capital. Milton has no easy issues.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Milton Plans Veterans Memorial Service

By DOUG NURSE www.ajc.com

Rows of crosses erected Tuesday on a section of Deerfield Road bear silent tribute to Milton's deceased veterans going back to the Civil War.

Each white marker is embossed in black with the name of a veteran and the conflict in which he served.

On Monday, after a brief Memorial Day ceremony at City Hall, the veterans' families will be given American flags. They will march up Deerfield Road about an eighth of a mile and place Old Glory in the top of the cross with their relative's name.
Councilman Bill Lusk came up with the idea for the markers after seeing similar memorials in Duluth.

"This is one of the most important holidays that needs to be recognized by all of us," Lusk said. "The result of their sacrifices allows us to enjoy our freedom. All gave some, some gave all."
Lusk, a Vietnam veteran, paid for the materials, assembled the 44 markers, and erected them. They will stay in place until a week after Memorial Day, he said.

The ceremony on Monday starts at 10 a.m. The keynote speaker will be Nick Snider, founder of the National Museum of Patriotism. He will be joined by the Milton High School choral, the Roswell High School ROTC, and numerous veterans. There will be a roll call of the deceased veterans.

Milton Adjust Gun Ordinance

By DOUG NURSE http://www.ajc.com/

Milton may have dodged a bullet Monday night.

The City Council changed an ordinance that allowed the city to ban firearms in the event of a disaster, a measure that put Milton in the sights of the pro-gun group, GunCarry.org.

GunCarry.org has sued several cities, including Atlanta, for keeping such a provision on the books.

By striking that prohibition, the city effectively eliminated any reason to be included in the litigation. GunCarry had notified the city that it intended to include Milton in a class action lawsuit.

"We made a fiscal decision not to fight this," said Chris Lagerbloom, public safety director.
Officially, the reason for the change was to make the city's law consistent with a state statute that expressly preempts counties and cities from regulating the possession of firearms or components of firearms.

Unchanged were prohibitions against possession, sale or use of explosives, gasoline, flammable liquids, or dangerous weapons, should a man-made or natural catastrophe strike.
The change won't take effect until June 2.

State House Update From Rep Jan Jones.

Friends and Neighbors-

It's easy to lose sight of real change when it occurs incrementally over time. Today our daughter tries on the cap and gown for this week's high school graduation. It gives me pause. Whatever happened to the 4-year-old girl who wouldn't stop sticking out her tongue at her pre-school graduation? Even more, whatever happened to bring about an extraordinary 10 percent increase in Georgia's high school graduation rate in just five years? Just like our daughter growing up, numerous steps strung together. Individual students, parents and educators deserve tremendous credit for the progress. And so does "aggressive incremental change" engineered by Georgia state legislators, Governor Sonny Perdue and State School Superintendent Kathy Cox. Georgia's graduation rate increased by 10 raw points in five years, no matter how you calculate it. It now exceeds 72 percent, which means 35,000 students graduated that would have been dropouts if the graduation needle remained stuck where it was when Governor Perdue took office. The increase has taken the diligent and collaborative work that rarely makes the newspapers' front pages. And it has taken fortitude to gently, but relentlessly, challenge the status quo that prefers the status quo. To be frank, it would have been unconscionable to accept doing things the same way. That would have meant getting the same results. Few state endeavors will affect more individual lives and spur greater economic development throughout Georgia than assuring our statewide system of learning actually works. One revealing benchmark of its success is the high school graduation rate. Below, I've listed initiatives at the state level that have cumulatively contributed to the unprecedented improvement in Georgia's high school graduation rate. The next 10 percentage point increase will be even more difficult to attain, but we must keep pushing ahead. Truly, the next generation is counting on it. Thank you for the opportunity to serve District 46 in the state House. Best- Jan JonesState Representative - District 46(Serving northwest Fulton, including Milton, Roswell, Alpharetta and Mountain Park)

State level initiatives in K-12 education since 2003.
Implemented a more rigorous curriculum in every grade. Independent education experts conclude Georgia's curriculum is the strongest in the southeast.
Required school systems to spend 65 percent of all education funding in the classroom where learning occurs.
Funded teacher salaries at the highest level in the Southeast to attract the best educators for our children.
Established benchmarks for 3rd, 5th and 8th grades requiring proficiency in reading and math. Doubled the number of charter schools to give parents more public school options to meet the individual needs of their children
Created 75 online virtual classes to give all students access to Advanced Placement and other rigorous classes.
Put in place end-of-course tests for 8 subjects in high school and made them count 15 percent of students' grades.
Made an on-line SAT prep course available for every high school student.
Published results by high school on the graduation test and end of course tests to spur further efforts in each high school.
Increased academic achievement standards on statewide tests by raising the scores required to pass.
Targeted state-level efforts on failing schools. They must improve - or change how they do business.
Funded graduation coaches in middle and high schools to identify students at risk of dropping out - and get them back on track.
Reduced class sizes, especially in kindergarten through 3rd grades. Research shows students benefit most from smaller classes in earlier grades when reading and math basics are taught. Created state scholarships for children with special needs that can be used at any public or private school meeting the child's unique needs.
Increased overall K-12 education funding on a per-student basis while reducing other areas of the state budget.
Required all 2200 advisory Local School Councils to be comprised of a parent-majority with a parent chair so parents have a greater voice in their children's schools.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Rescuers Free Man From Collaped Trench

By NANCY BADERTSCHER, DOUG NURSE http://www.ajc.com/ 05/19/08

Emergency crews from the city of Milton and Forsyth County have extricated a construction worker trapped in a collapsed trench.

The victim, whose name was not immediately being released, was conscious and buried up to his waist Monday afternoon, said Lt. Shawn McCarty of the Milton Police Department.

The victim was freed at 3:49 p.m. after a Forsyth County vacuum truck sucked up dirt and soil around the man, McCarty said.

The man was being evaluated and was expected to be taken to a hospital for observation, McCarty said.

The trench collapsed about 1:15 p.m. at a construction site in the Hampshires subdivision off Freemanville Road. The man had been digging a sewer drain, McCarty said.
A trench support frame was present, but the trench wasn't big enough yet to accommodate it, police said.

Trench rescue teams were sent from Forsyth County, Atlanta and Alpharetta.

Call To Action - Stream Buffers.


A quick note from the folks at bhalliance.org.

May 19, 2008

Wieland Stream Buffer Variance goes before the BZA Tuesday, May 20, 2008 at 7pmCase number V08-006

This picture depicts a wall built across a stream in Wieland's Braeland development at Crabapple, the developer is now requesting a variance for this wall to remain in the stream buffer, to encroach into the 50' undisturbed stream bank buffer. The variance that the applicant is seeking is actually "after the fact" and should be denied, there is no hardship. The developer has admitted fault for building the wall and causing tremendous damage to the adjacent properties, streams and the lake at Six Hills. The project was permitted by Fulton County in late 2006 prior to the formation of the City of Milton, the developer is stating hardship and that the wall is built according to the plan, but that the stream moved. Staff notes, "we disagreed since there is no evidence that the stream has moved and have held to the position that this constituted an encroachment into the undisturbed stream buffer."

Multiple City, State and Federal code violations have been filed:

March 6, 2008-City of Milton for failure to properly install & maintain erosion control.


May 5, 2008-US Army Corps of Engineers a cease & desist order for failure to submit the required permit and constructing a retaining wall & placing fill material in a perennial stream.Stream buffers are the interface between the water and the land, and they serve many functions making them valuable to people and wildlife. Violation of the Milton stream buffer requirements sets a negative precedent, buffers are meant to protect the community.

The requested variance violates:

City Code Chapter 14.6.5.i., the 50' undisturbed stream bank buffer shall be maintained.
City Code Chapter 14.6.5.ii., a 75' impervious setback shall be maintained.
US Army Corps of Engineers Section 404 of the Clean Water Act (33 U.S.C. 1344)
Crabapple Crossroads Overlay 12H(1).4.A.4, Where retaining walls are required, they shall be faced with indigenous rock or brick.

Voice your opinions on this and other important issues to the Mayor, City Council and Board of Zoning Appeals, our stream buffers must be maintained.

Mayor Joe Lockwood - joe.lockwood@cityofmiltonga.us
Karen Thurman - karen.thurman@cityofmiltonga.us
Julie Zahner Bailey - julie.zahnerbailey@cityofmiltonga.us
Bill Lusk - bill.lusk@cityofmiltonga.us
Burt Hewitt - burt.hewitt@cityofmiltonga.us
Tina D'Aversa - tina.daversa@cityofmiltonga.us
Alan Tart - alan.tart@cityofmiltonga.us
Board Of Zoning Appeals - bza@cityofmiltonga.us
City Manager Billy Beckett - billy.beckett@cityofmiltonga.us
Construction Inspector Jimmy Sanders - jimmy.sanders@cityofmiltonga.us
Arborist Mark Law - mark.law@cityofmiltonga.us

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Rattlesnake Ridge Could Be Milton's Sister City

by Jason Wright www.northfulton.com

May 14, 2008 MILTON -- Bill Schellhorn has a vision for Milton and a small, Appalachian Kentucky town named Rattlesnake Ridge.He and a group of committed volunteers -- including Eva Buckingham and Lisa Beharelle, who have been collecting clothing and furniture for its citizens since 2001 -- hope Milton's City Council will agree to adopt Rattlesnake Ridge as a sister city.It needs the help, said Barbara Duncan, the founder of Integrated Community Ministries (ICM) who has established a learning center and thrift store in the area with her husband, Hilton.Duncan said 80 percent of children in Rattlesnake Ridge live in poverty. More than half live with their grandparents because their parents aren't able to care for them.

The designation as a sister city could mean donations to and from Rattlesnake Ridge, an exchange program, and much more. And while no one is exactly sure what the partnership will entail, Schellhorn has big plans."It could be as much or as little as we want it to be," he said. A few of his ideas include a technology exchange to improve schools in Rattlesnake Ridge, a business initiative to bring jobs to the area or a scholarship fund for a student looking to further his education. That's not to mention the more concrete donations of used public safety apparatus and equipment or office furniture from City Hall.

"We could make an incentive that there's a light at the end of that tunnel," Schellhorn said of the potential scholarship. "Kids experience new things that they never would have -- all of a sudden it's a completely different life."

In their efforts to have Milton partner with Rattlesnake Ridge, the volunteers held a luncheon at City Hall May 2. There Schellhorn, Buckingham and Beharelle introduced Milton's council to the people trying to make the Appalachian town a better place to live.Two of the people in attendance were McCreary County Sheriff Gus Skinner and his wife, Tracey. She said Rattlesnake Ridge's people are "hard headed, hard nosed and artistically talented." The problem, she said, is that the town is cut off from progress and provides very limited economic opportunities."You have a factory that may or may not be there, working for the government or making a living in timber," she said. "It's a hard way of life."

Every day the Skinners combat the factors that contribute to Rattlesnake Ridge's crushing poverty. Gus takes on the area's "extreme" prescription drug problem while Tracey, a fellow in a University of Kentucky entrepreneurial coaches program, counsels youth and helps find new ways of making money.So far they've established a teen coalition to provide young people leadership in a drug free environment and worked with small entrepreneurs to find success in local ventures like hunting- and fishing-guide businesses.

"Starting with the youth, that's where the change comes," said Tracey.The most important steps are creating an increased importance in education and more economic activities, she said."The people of Milton see that," she said. "There are a lot of entrepreneurs here."

The Duncans agree. Since starting the mission in Rattlesnake Ridge they've brought food, clothing and books into an area where the closest store is 20 to 30 minutes away. The ICM learning center is a "safe haven" against the cycle of drug and abuse that pervades life in the depressed area."It's a place to be cared about and encouraged," said Hilton. "We teach them they can do better, help find jobs for life."And any supplies brought in help people know they aren't in the struggle alone."People tell me 'You don't realize how much it helps,'" said Barbara.

"It helps everyone in that community."That opportunity to help out another community is what excites Mayor Joe Lockwood the most. A native of West Virginia, Lockwood said he spent his summers working on the farms of people in situations similar to the one faced in Rattlesnake Ridge."I foresee it as more of a partnership," he said. "I think it will benefit us just as much as Rattlesnake Ridge."

Milton Community Rallies Around Injured Girl

by Jason Wright www.northfulton.com


May 15, 2008 MILTON -- Molly Welch, a 2005 Milton High School graduate, was driving back to Auburn University in Alabama from a trip home in February when her vehicle collided head on with another driver.After three weeks in a coma, the once vivacious 21-year-old was allowed to come home. Her family became virtual 24-hour care providers until Welch could improve enough to enter rehabilitation for her brain injury at Atlanta's Shepherd Center. There she remains, undergoing an intense two-month process to help her live again.

But if you ask her mother, Mary Welch, a special education teacher at New Prospect Elementary School in Alpharetta, the ordeal has yielded a wealth of positive results in their lives."It's humbling, almost overwhelming," she said. "You can't put words to it."

Welch is speaking about the community's efforts to help the family and raise money for Molly's long-term care. So far her employer, New Prospect Elementary, has established an open donation fund at Wachovia. In addition, local business Foster's Grille has deemed three Tuesdays in May "Miracles for Molly" nights, where portions of the night's proceeds will go to the fund, as well. As part of Miracles for Molly, a $2 raffle is being held for a 42-inch television. A bake sale was also held at North Park May 10.The money raised is important for Molly's long term care, as the family is unsure to what extent she'll be rehabilitated."These people have dedication in their hearts," said Welch of her fellow teachers and friends. "They just picked it up and ran with it. I can't tell you enough about the generosity of people — it has taken on a life of its own. It's breathtaking."

Carol Accurso, a paraprofessional at Alpharetta Elementary, used to work with Welch. She has been spearheading the fund-raising efforts, which started with a $1,000 fund drive at her school. Accurso said Welch's lifetime of unselfish service to others made the fund-raising efforts a no-brainer."She's a wonderful woman," Accurso said of Welch. "She gives all of herself back to her community, family, church and students."She said Foster's Grille owner Michael O'Keefe jumped at the chance to help out."I asked for one night [of fund raising], and he said how about three?" she gushed. "That's how great he is."

For his part, O'Keefe said Miracles for Molly is just part of his mission of charity and community outreach from Foster's."We want to be part of the community, we want to do this stuff," he said. "This is a heartbreaking case, and it makes you want to do more because of the circumstances."He made these comments while working feverishly to serve all the customers on hand who came to help out a young girl they all knew."This shows you the quality of people you have here," he said. "Hopefully we're making some good money for Molly."

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Please Help

A note from one of Milton's Pastors.

Critical urgent need for blood for Bruce Smitherman who has been a member of this church a long time and is in Emory Hospital with a serious liver condition. He has been losing blood for several weeks and has received about 30 units of blood so far. He has type O-negative blood. If you have O-negative or O-positive blood please contact Susan Smitherman on her cell phone at 770.329.9481.These folks are great. Hope you can assist.


John Wolfe

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Milton Citizen Survey Results And Open House

The results are in, your opinions have been tallied.
Join the Mayor and City Council at the Open House, Wednesday, May 14th - 6:30pm at City Hall.

The Open House is the third phase of the City of Milton Comprehensive Plan process, the Community Agenda. Preliminary Milton Survey results will be presented, these surveys are a critical component of the Community Participation Plan phase of Milton's Comprehensive Plan Update process.

Tonight's agenda includes:
Community Agenda Overview
Visual Choices Survey-Review of building designs & streetscape
Map Review of Character Areas & Infrastructure Investments
Public Comment

I encourage you to attend this important meeting and let your voice be heard as we plan for the City's future!

Later this month the CPAC will hold two Community Visioning sessions. These workshops are the continuation of the Community Participation Plan process of Milton's Comprehensive Plan Update. Click here for more details.

May City of Milton MeetingsMonday, May 19th - City Council Meeting, 6PMTuesday, May 20th - Board of Zoning Appeals, 7PM, agenda Tuesday, May 27th - Planning Commission Thursday, May 29th - Comprehensive Plan Community Visioning Meeting, 6PM, agenda Saturday, May 31st - Comprehensive Plan Community Visioning Meeting, 9AM, agenda
All my best,

Julie Zahner Bailey
Milton City Council
770-664-5529
(h)404-310-6344
Julie4Milton.com

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Important City Of Milton Meetings

Citizens Survey Results City Council Meeting Board of Zoning Appeals

The City of Milton will hold an Open House session Wednesday, May 14 at 6:30pm, to kick off the third phase of the City of Milton Comprehensive Plan process, the Community Agenda. Meeting agendaThe Community Agenda phase will provide residents and business owners with the opportunity to speak about projects and programs within the new city that are "Uniquely Milton" and will chart a course for future Mayor and City Council implementation.

Special topics during the Open House include:

Results of the Milton Comprehensive Plan Survey Questionnaire
Visual Choices Survey that asks attendees to rate designs for buildings & streetscapes
Map exercise to review character area & infrastructure investments
Public Comment

All are invited and encouraged to attend this important meeting and let your voice be heard as we plan for the City's future!Community Visioning meetings being held May 29th and May 31. Join your neighbors for one or both sessions and be part of the vision for the Milton Comprehensive Plan.
All:

We already knew Milton was a wonderful place to live. The following just confirms our beliefs. Many thanks to Mrs. Carol Accurso for heading this up and bringing it to our attention. We hope to see you next Tuesday!

- Tim Enloe / Accessmilton.com

Molly Welch is a 2005 graduate of Milton High School. Molly suffered a severe brain injury after her car hit head-on with a truck. Help us to help Molly return to a normal life.

Please join us at “Foster’s Grille in Crabapple Tuesday, May 20th ALL DAY for GREAT FOOD and the chance at a raffle to win a BIG SCREEN TV!

Drawing will be at 8:00 pm – You do not need to be present to win!

Portions of the proceeds from this day will be donated to the Welch Family to aid in the expense of helping Molly on her Road to Recovery. Bring your family, friends…..everyone!

To Find out more about your own Foster's Grille, click here=> http://www.accessmilton.com/Advertisers/FostersGrille.php

Monday, May 12, 2008

Send Us your Gardening Pictures!!!!



It is Spring time in Milton and time to garden. Into vegetable gardening, flower gardening or something in between? Then share the beauty and email us your spring gardening pictures!
Tired of talking to yourself about your green thumb? Then join the Milton Garden Club today. To find out more, click here=> http://www.accessmilton.com/MiltonGardenClub.php

Milton Passes Height Restriction on Ga. 9

by Jason Wright / www.northfulton.com / Appen Newspapers

May 06, 2008

MILTON -- Don't plan on seeing high rises overlooking the neighborhoods that dot Ga. 9 in Milton anytime soon.

After deferring the decision since October, City Council voted 5-1 (Councilman Bill Lusk had to leave early) to restrict the heights of buildings along Ga. 9 south of Webb Road to two stories and 30 feet. In addition, a new set of more stringent buffer restrictions -- which ensure single structures can't be built right next to each other -- were also passed.

Originally Milton's council passed a set of design guidelines for the Ga. 9 corridor in October, a major victory for area residents sick of seeing the piecemeal fashion in which construction has taken place along the important road. But they chose to defer the height and buffer restriction portions for fear setting limits to the area could interfere with future tax revenues and Atlanta Regional Commission and Georgia Regional Transportation Authority funding.

That cash could be used to create a pedestrian-friendly downtown area in the future. In short, Ga. 9 has been identified by ARC as a "mega corridor" for future growth. That means multi-story buildings and sustainable living/working communities.The plan was to conduct tax and revenue modeling as part of the ongoing Comprehensive Plan update, but such modeling is still two to three months away.Community Development Director Tom Wilson, who did not support the approval, said he wasn't exactly sure the consequences of restricting heights on a major commercial corridor."I can't say [it would affect revenues], but I suspect it might. Is that gray enough for you?" he asked.

Wilson also said cities are not told why grant monies don't come through in the end."It's quite likely we may never know if this may cost us or not."The important parts of the approval are twofold, said Councilwoman Tina D'Aversa. One is that the Ga. 9 guidelines exclude Deerfield Parkway and Morris Road, which are zoned for high-rise office buildings."I think we've got ample opportunities for these buildings,' said D'Aversa.

Another is that nothing binds council from allowing a taller building to come in on Ga. 9 if they want it.This point was important to Councilwoman Julie Zahner Bailey, a staunch opponent of tall buildings on Ga. 9."We're not restricted to just this height [barrier]," she said.

Mayor Joe Lockwood, who generally is centrist in his approach to city matters, seemed to be in the middle on the argument."I certainly don't want to see three-story buildings near neighborhoods," he said. "But I don't just want to see a flat line, either. Sometimes we can go up and see greenspace."Eventually, though, he was won over by the idea that council could go back and fix any unintended consequences.

The one dissenting vote was cast by Councilwoman Karen Thurman. An accountant by trade, she said she wasn't comfortable making any decisions that could cost the city in the long run."I need to know the financial consequences of decisions." she said.

In other business, council

•Deferred one rezoning on Webb Road and one zoning modification on Ga. 9 until more information could be provided about Milton's current sewer situation in the area. Among the points of contention was the revelation by City Attorney Angie Davis that she believes Fulton County's intergovernmental agreement on sewer with Milton does not cover the entire city – which could be a lynchpin of future zoning and rezoning cases."To do this justice we have to secure this information," said Councilman Bill Lusk.
•Approved a resolution to establish the citizens' participation group for the revision of the Milton Tree Preservation Ordinance.
•Approved a lease agreement for the continued use of the Hickory Flat fire station at Birmingham Crossroads.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

New Poll Up.


A new poll is up regarding noise generated from schools and churches. Do you believe such entities should answer to the same noise ordinance as private residences? Vote up the upper right corner of this news blog today!

Fulton To Increase Water Rates 15 Percent

Conservation reduces county use by 30%

By D.L. BENNETT www.ajc.com

Fulton County officials praised county water users Wednesday for their success at conservation — then socked them with a 15 percent rate increase for their effort.
The conservation penalty the County Commission adopted Wednesday 6-0 matches the increase Atlanta utility officials asked to impose earlier this year but which the City Council so far has resisted. The average water/sewer bill should increase nearly $9 per month to a total of about $68 per month, water officials said.

The county provides water and sewer service to some areas of north Fulton County. It provides sewer service only in Sandy Springs and south Fulton. The county also has some north Fulton customers who only get water.All will get the 15 percent hike.

Utility managers said water use has dropped by as much as 30 percent since last year when Gov. Sonny Perdue asked each county to cut usage by at least 10 percent because of the lingering drought. That has Fulton facing potential default on its bonds, said Angela Parker, public works director."We just can't swallow this reduction in revenues," Parker said.
She said Fulton one day might roll back the rates if the drought ends and revenues return to pre-drought levels.

Commissioners said they felt Fulton had to raise rates despite the slumping economy.
"I'm deeply concerned about raising water rates, but we have no choice," Commissioner Emma Darnell said. "This is a minor range of situations where a rate increase can be justified."
Economy Jackson of Atlanta protested the action on behalf of Habitat for Humanity, which builds low-cost homes all over Fulton.

"Because people are saving money, they are being charged," she said. "We are doing what you asked us to do. We are opposed to this rate increase."Atlanta's proposed conservation penalty continues to be stalled in the City Council's utilities committee and does not appear to be headed toward passage.

Atlanta water utility officials began pushing on Tuesday a four-year rate hike plan that includes the money the conservation penalty would have collected. It would bump up the average water/sewer bill 80 percent — from $84.60 a month to $151.92 — during the next four years.
Council members are expected to consider the rate increases in the next seven weeks as they consider the 2008-09 budget, which starts July 1 and has a projected $140 million shortfall.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Wreck Kills Milton Woman.

By DOUG NURSE www.ajc.com

A 53-year-old Milton woman was killed in a two-car accident Tuesday.

Carol Roberts was pronounced dead at the scene on Hopewell Road south of Bethany Bend Road. The driver of the second vehicle, Evan Reiss, 19, was treated at North Fulton Hospital for non-life threatening injuries.

The accident occurred about 10:50 p.m. when a northbound 1998 Volvo driven by Roberts crossed into the southbound lane and collided with an oncoming 2003 Acura driven by Reiss.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Sprawl Is Just One More Nail In Economic Coffin

By: Mike Thomas www.orlandosentinel.com

Urban sprawl can ruin the environment and our quality of life.
But could it also undermine our economy? There is growing sentiment among urban planners that cities are surrounding themselves with the slums of tomorrow. These are the outlying developments, many thrown up with reckless abandon during the housing bubble to feed speculator demand.In 2005, Florida cities and counties gave out a record 208,000 permits for detached homes, mostly out in the burbs of Central Florida and coastal cities.

These far-flung projects have been hit hardest by the plunge in housing values. Dropping prices can kick off a spiral of foreclosures, rentals and abandonment. A recent eye-opening piece in The Atlantic Monthly titled "The Next Slum?" picked examples of new subdivisions around Charlotte, N.C., Sacramento, Calif., and Florida's Lee County -- some with $500,000 homes -- falling into crime-ridden decay. As this happens, such developments bring in less tax revenue but require more services in the form of police patrols and code inspection.

Making matters worse, some demographic researchers think the current housing downturn simply exacerbates a long-term trend. As people age, they go from being homebuyers to home sellers. This means that with the impending retirement of the baby boomers, we are entering an era of more sellers in proportion to buyers.And the sellers will be selling suburban homes designed to raise children, while a growing percentage of buyers won't have children.

Arthur Nelson, director of the Metropolitan Institute at Virginia Tech, predicts a glut of 22 million "large-lot" detached homes by 2025, with large lot defined as one-sixth of an acre and up.Put another way: If we didn't build another house in the suburbs, we still would have too many of them 17 years from now. The home-vacancy rate in Central Florida is a staggering 7.4 percent, by far the highest in the nation."For Sale" signs are multiplying on the urban fringes, along with unkempt yards."There are more empty houses the farther out you go," says Jack Connor of Alliance Appraisal & Consulting Services. "I was down in Kissimmee, at a development on Lake Toho, and it is a ghost town."Empty downtown condos have become a housing-bubble poster child. But the glut in the outlying burbs is the real time bomb.

Sprawl supporters say these areas provide affordability. But the Charlotte Observer recently reported that starter-home subdivisions there are most prone to problems. Virginia Tech's Nelson notes we have mitigating factors in Florida. Growth has stalled, but history says it will resume, making us better able in the long term to soak up excess housing inventory. And given our narrow peninsula, the suburbs here are denser and not as far-flung as they are around Sacramento, Atlanta and Charlotte. But getting to long-term stability will require short-term survival. We need aggressive police and code enforcement in at-risk subdivisions. If they tip into a state of decay, they may never recover, and new growth will pass them by. We also need a hiatus on developing outside urban service areas. It's past time to stop moving out and start filling in. But Florida politicians never say no to developers. Not even the possibility of a looming crisis will change that.