by Jason Wright / Appen Newspapers
January 19, 2009 MILTON - Gating Creek Club Drive is a matter of safety, Mike Stevens, a Crooked Creek Homeowner Association member, told Milton City Council. That is why he asked the city to abandon the upscale neighborhood's main thoroughfare.
At a City Council work session Jan. 12, Stevens, who has spearheaded efforts to gate the road, spoke to council about the city's right-of-way privatization policy, or the way it abandons a road.
It's just a matter of time, before someone is killed by a passing motorist driving over the speed limit in the neighborhood, Stevens said. "It's going to be on all of our heads."
The meeting was packed with people from the 640-home neighborhood, which accounts for about 11 percent of Milton's population.
They left feeling mostly frustrated after council determined a lot of work needs to be done before anything can change.
The policy, adopted from Fulton County in June 2007, says that for a street to be abandoned by the city, 100 percent of the people affected by the closing of the road would have to approve.
Stevens and the rest of the Crooked Creek HOA board want that number lowered to 75 percent.
Creek Club Drive often is used as a cut through for drivers between Ga. 9 and Freemanville Road.
Milton's Public Works Director Dan Drake told council his staff had looked at eight state jurisdictions and all required a 100 percent approval by affected residents for road abandonment.
He said for a neighborhood of more than 100 homes, he would be comfortable with 90 percent, however."This, to me, is effectively 100 percent," he said.
Stevens denounced the idea."We're six times bigger than that," he said. "This kills it for us."City Attorney Ken Jarrard also told council that state law requires Milton to find the road serves "no public use." He added the decision can be upheld in court if council finds the road is being used "illegally," which had many in the audience contemplating whether speeding counted.
Drake asked that any work done to determine Creek Club Drive's status be carried out during the upcoming transportation master plan process. That way potentially rerouted traffic can be diffused, knowledgeable consultants can help the city make fact-based, rather than emotional, decisions.
Councilwoman Julie Zahner Bailey agreed."We have to have hard data to support our position in a court of law if we had to," she said.The most vocal council member for Crooked Creek's position was Tina D'Aversa, who called Creek Club Drive a "safety hazard.""It is a dangerous road for pass through traffic," she said.D'Aversa agreed that the transportation stakeholders committee needs to be a part of any decision."I wouldn't want to see us change our policy, then defer to our transportation planning policy," she said.