by Jason Wright /
October 22, 2008 MILTON - Crooked Creek resident Mark Hanley was worried. With most of the talk in Milton City Hall seemingly centered around sewer, planning in Crabapple and fussing in council chambers, Hanley was afraid his portion of Milton had been left behind."I don't hear anything about Ga. 9," he said. "It's almost as if that area has been punted."
Council members Tina D'Aversa and Alan Tart, who represent almost all of Ga. 9 in districts 5 and 6 respectively, want to make sure that fear is averted. And so it was Oct. 16 that the two hosted an open house at City Hall for and about the citizens of the Ga. 9 corridor, Milton's most populated region.D'Aversa said last year - the city's first - she and mayor Joe Lockwood met with at least 12 home owners associations in the Ga. 9 corridor. This year she simply didn't have the time, so a big meeting seemed like the best plan. Throw in the fact that she and Tart had been discussing the idea of holding just such a meeting for their constituents, and voila.
"The purpose of tonight's meeting is to tell us what you want to see on Ga. 9," she said to the roughly 30 people in attendance. "We can't fight the development, it's going to happen. But we can decide how we develop starting right here tonight."And tell they did. In an informal setting residents spoke with each other, Tart and D'Aversa, Councilwoman Julie Zahner Bailey (the only other council member in attendance) and staff members, who made short presentations. Lockwood was in Florida, and couldn't make it.Topping the list was a clear, concise vision for Ga. 9 — regardless of how much land is actually left to develop. As such, a Ga. 9 design guidelines citizens group may get off the ground as early as the end of November.
Community Development Director Alice Wakefield put it best."Even if there's no vacant land, you can always have redevelopment," she said. "And you need those guidelines around beforehand."
With the list of residents' ideas in hand, D'Aversa and Tart pledged another meeting after all of council has the ability to look at the results.That suited Hanley fine. He felt satisfied he'd been heard - especially on his hot button issue: Fulton County's former policy of property tax freezes.And though Hanley said he might not always see eye to eye with every elected official, "I'd never, ever go back to Fulton County."