Council members Zahner Bailey, D'Aversa and Tart vote against sewer extension
Sewer Extension Approved 4-3
Thank you for attending the September 15th Mayor and Council meeting. There was standing room only attendance and I received many emails in opposition to sewer extension prior to the meeting.
Despite requests by citizens and Council Members D'Aversa, Tart and Zahner Bailey to allow a minimum of a week to review last minute, new maps and IGA, a vote was taken to approve sewer extension. I am greatly disappointed with what I perceive as a rush to a vote and the approval of sewer extension supported by Mayor Lockwood and Council Members Thurman, Lusk and Hewitt.
Karen Thurman made the motion to approve staff's newly-created map and the new IGA and to include more acreage for sewer extension than staff had recommended. Bill Lusk seconded the motion. This 4-3 vote to approve sewer extension impacts areas of Highway 9, Webb Road, Hopewell Road (in Vickery Crest subdivision), Crabapple including Green Road and Arnold Mill, Green Road near Waterside, Waterside and the Crabapple Village and land on Mayfield Road.
Please use this link to read the article in Tuesday's, AJC.
While I appreciate staff's effort and time, please know that I did not support this motion or vote. The new maps and IGA were provided on Friday and Sunday at 2:00 a.m. These documents were never made available to the public before the council meeting on Monday night. Council members D'Aversa, Zahner Bailey and Tart requested a work session so that the public would have an opportunity to familiarize themselves with these documents and to provide input. This request was denied. A decision of this magnitude deserves appropriate deliberation.
Regardless of claims otherwise, the Milton City Attorney has stated for the record, not just once but several times, that the version of the Fulton County IGA and sewer service maps voted on Monday night included sewer extension. Staff's anaylsis also shows sewer extension; for the full Staff analysis click here.
Please note that the City of Milton website reports that this vote did not represent new or extended sewer. This is incorrect as the new sewer map and IGA do, in fact, include new sewered areas. These are represented in red on the attached sewer map and were pointed out by the City Attorney and staff's analysis. To see the Milton website article and new sewer map, click here.
Obviously, sewer in itself is not bad or evil. The problem is that it allows unnatural density levels. There are two exposures from the new sewer areas. First, higher density may be allowed than the unsewered land would otherwise support. Second, properties adjoining the new sewer areas may well request sewer in the future. Approval would be subject to future City Council decisions, so control is tenuous. If legally challenged, Courts may tend to approve zoning requests where the infrastructure (sewer) already exists. The new sewered areas will create new exposure to additional sewer expansion.
Now that the vote has been taken, the next step is to reach a legal agreement with Fulton County Commissioners. In an article published in today's AJC, Commissioner Lynne Riley indicates that the maps and IGA approved on Monday night do not extend sewer far enough. The article confirms that Council Member Thurman's motion to add areas to the map was an attempt to get closer to Fulton's desired stance.
I know that many of you are disappointed and feel personally let down by the decision of some to extend sewer into Milton. Please continue to contact the Mayor and Council Members about your concerns. As always, thank you for the opportunity and privilege to serve as your Council Member. I will continue to work hard on your behalf everyday for the future of our collective community.
Julie Zahner Bailey
Milton City Council