By Jason Wright / Appen Newspapers
Turnout was higher than expected at the two-session charrette — or community planning meeting — at Milton City Hall July 18, with about 50 people showing up to give their opinions on the future of the city.
The charrette, which focused on land use and development and how to implement growth strategies in Milton, was one of the final pieces in the city's multi-stage Comprehensive Plan process slated to end with final approval by Dec. 31.
"We're ratcheting down toward implementation," said Community Development Director Alice Wakefield.
The crowd was formed into two groups for the first, more heavily attended meeting, and one for the last. The participants talked about Milton's "character areas" – those eight agreed upon corridors from May's community meeting that define the city such as Crabapple, Deerfield and Birmingham – gave their thoughts on maps showing where growth could occur and discussed implementation of city policies concerning such growth.
"There was lots of active dialogue," said George Ragsdale, head of Milton's Comprehensive Plan Citizens Advisory Committee (CPAC). "We're trying to get the community to tell us how and where to put development eventually. It's a 25 year view of what Milton could be – so where do we need to start working?"
Ragsdale said there was a common thread among the comments collected by consultants Ecos Environmental Design at the charrette."As we make Milton more attractive, more people will come," he said. "So how do we accommodate those new people and maintain our rural character? You're in a chicken-and-egg situation."
The meeting was about getting as many different viewpoints as possible, said Ecos Environmental Design representative Shannon Kettering to a group discussing whether or not Ga. 9 should be defined as a future growth area or scenic corridor.
There were, of course, some differences of opinion."This is not a about consensus, guys – this is just a broad discussion," she said. Ragsdale agreed and said everyone's comments will be "assimilated" into CPAC's work on the final plan, which is slated to be to council in September."We want to get as broad a cross section of community input as possible," he said.