AM NOTE: The eight parcels referenced below are 1059, 1060, 1096, 1138, 1167, 1166, 1103, 1109, 1049. 1059 is located at the intersection of Mayfield and Bethany Roads. To preview the map, please click here=> http://www.agendapost.org/comga/maps/Sewer_Service_Area_Adopted_2008.pdf
By DOUG NURSE / http://www.ajc.com/
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Fulton County is rejecting a sewer agreement hammered out over months and approved Monday by a divided Milton City Council.
County Commissioner Lynne Riley said Tuesday she warned Mayor Joe Lockwood and other council members last week that she would oppose any agreement that omitted city parcels previously promised sewers by the county. The final agreement left out eight pieces of property on the city’s southern border.
“Unfortunately, those revisions by Milton staff removed property that were duly granted sewer eligibility by Fulton County,” Riley said. “The agreement solves 99.6 percent of the issues, but that 0.4 percent still needs their rights defended. This is not what I expected to wake up to this morning.”
Riley said she has asked the county attorney to review the county’s vulnerability to lawsuits if it were to consider the city’s new plan.
Typically, commissioners rely on the advice of the commissioner in the affected district.
The item was pulled from today’s County Commission meeting agenda. Milton council member Karen Thurman, who voted to approve the agreement, said she doesn’t envision having to reopen the whole discussion.
“We’ve given staff clear direction on 99.6 percent of the cases,” Thurman said. “They can issue certificates of occupancy and land disturbance permits. We still have 0.4 percent that we have to work on with the county. We’ll get there.”
Because the county provides sewer inside the city limits, the city’s sewer policy has to be consistent with county plans and commitments.
The City Council voted 4-3 Monday night to approve a map and an intergovernmental agreement with Fulton County defining where sewer service could go in Milton. There was jubilation in the City Council chambers after it appeared the contentious issue had been settled.
In many communities, extending sewer service is routine. In Milton, it’s fodder for political combat, leading to the defeat of two incumbents last November and contributing to the resignation of the city manager after only five months on the job.
Milton residents treasure their tree-lined lanes, pastoral vistas and other rural characteristics, and they fear development, especially dense development, will ruin that. Many believe that sewer service is an engine for density, and they favor limiting sewerm service as a way to control growth.
But others argue that density can be controlled through zoning, that sewer service in some areas is reasonable and that the city needs the tax revenue from commercial projects.
In the past few months, the city has had several meetings and spent untold man-hours hammering out a map they hoped would settle the issue.