I appreciate “People4Milton” quoting me in their support for our City. But to eliminate any confusion, I have listed my article that was written in October of 2007 so that there is no miscommunication in the context from which the quote came.
Milton Needs a Healthy Business Community
By: Adam Orkin as published in The Milton Herald, Oct. 27, 2007
As a lifetime member of the Atlanta metro community, now residing with my family in Milton, and as a business owner in Milton, I find myself asking why there is so much acrimony in Milton today, and why does it seem so difficult to do the right thing.
My companies, Orkin and Associates, a third-generation, family-owned business, and Devin Properties, a real estate development company, strive to do the right thing and implement the best practices in everything.
Whether investing in quality real estate projects, or developing pedestrian friendly communities, or through applying our philanthropic approach to great causes, we seek out every opportunity to try to give back to the community from which we derive our livelihood.
My companies build consensus through team approach because we believe that collaboration and mutual respect are keys to a strong and vibrant community.
Unfortunately, we, as well as many other business leaders today, do not believe the City of Milton officials are committed to these same principles. Recently, it has become apparent that some City Officials are pursuing a one-sided, extremist campaign that will ultimately undercut and weaken our community. It is similarly baffling and distressing that other officials, knowing the potential dangers, are simply standing by.
Why is the business community, as the primary builder of communities (and the tax base), the contributor of jobs, housing, offices, industry, services and entertainment, left out of the discussion?
Why are we overlooked on the issues about which we have so much expertise and insight to offer? Why is it so difficult for businesses to operate in Milton? Especially at this critical juncture in the establishment of our new City, extreme measures that inhibit and discourage businesses from operating in Milton are against the interests of everyone in our community.
I am sure that we can all draw our own conclusion as to what is happening, and no one is interested in pointing fingers. We only want to help resolve the problems faced by our City. To do that, we, the business leaders of Milton, need a seat at the table. Our business knowledge will help to transform Milton into one of the best places to work, live and play in the metro region, and the entire State of Georgia. Without the support of a strong and thriving business community, a city cannot function over the long term absent of overtaxing its citizens.
Therefore, as both a private citizen and on behalf of Orkin and Associates and Devin Properties, I want to express my opposition to many of the development regulatory measures which are being discussed and may be enacted within Milton.
These include a two-story building height limitation, unreasonably large undisturbed buffer zones, and a total prohibition of manmade dentition ponds, excessive setbacks and slope easement requirements, as well as many other short-sighted ordinances which could have far-reaching, destructive consequences for our community.
Furthermore, these measures may well be unconstitutional because they would be arbitrary and capricious, would discriminate unreasonably, and would significantly diminish our property rights without just compensation.
One disturbing and misguided policy argument often advanced is that septic tanks will save our beautiful pastures from “looking like Midtown Atlanta.” The reality is that most septic tanks are ticking time bombs of sewer waste because of poor site planning or maintenance.
Consequently, they are a primary cause of groundwater contamination, environmental degradation, and public health problems. Moreover, blindly promoting septic over central sewer to “control growth” inevitably backfires and results in the worst kind of development: sprawl. As a community, we should try to end sprawl, not expand it.
What my companies do support are new urbanist principles, smart growth, transportation alternatives, sidewalks, greenway trails, parks, great architecture, beautiful hardscapes and landscapes, mixes of uses – of the things that build and strengthen communities.
To this end, I challenge each of you as the elected leaders of Milton to meet with the business leaders of Milton in a forum that will offer the opportunity to work as a team to build a policy platform that will encourage companies, small and large, to come to Milton. Let’s work together – our future depends on it.