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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Crooked Creek may get private road.


Courtesy Jonathan Copsey / Appen Newspapers

September 20, 2010

MILTON – Before last year's election, there was a lot of talk about the desire of many Crooked Creek subdivision residents to make their road a private drive. That would allow them the option of gating it from those who would use the residential street as a short-cut between Ga. 9 and Francis Road.

As a public road, however, state law only allows abandonment of roads not in use. Given the level of traffic cutting through the subdivision, that was certainly not the case.

Now, Crooked Creek may get its way after all. The change comes after the state Legislature changed the procedure for abandonment of public roads to include roads that "do not serve the public interest."

"The law has been changed and changed in a significant way," said city attorney Ken Jarrard at a recent council work session.

Milton also requires there be 100 percent approval from affected residents. Now the City Council is thinking of easing the "100 percent" rule to something more obtainable.

With the change in state law, a city can abandon roads – and thereby privatize them – as it sees fit and with whatever percentage of affected residents' approval it likes. However, Jarrard pointed out that the percentage cannot be decided on the fly. It would have to be a city-wide standard. For instance, if the council decides 70 percent resident approval is fine, all road abandonment issues in the city will be resolved with 70 percent. That is if the city first agrees abandonment of a road is in the public interest.

The 640 homeowners of Crooked Creek have had the problem of Creek Club Drive, the main road through the subdivision, used as a shortcut for years. The residents pushed for abandonment so they could install gates at the entrances, stopping the traffic.

"Safety is the number one concern, but there's also the security benefit," said Councilmember Joe Longoria, who lives in the subdivision and campaigned heavily to privatize the road. "I know [crime] would go down if it were gated."

Should the roads in Crooked Creek become privatized and gated, Longoria argues that not only would the crime be reduced, the city would no longer be responsible for the upkeep of the 6.5 miles of roadway within the neighborhood.

"That's found resources we could focus in other areas of the city," he said.

33 comments:

Anonymous said...

I told you that Joe Longoria had one, and only one, adjenda to run and that was to gate CC!

Anonymous said...

Local governments should be all for this! It is one less road for the taxpayers to maintain.

I agree that 100% resident approval is a little much. But more than a majority would be appropriate. I'm sure there are Crooked Creek residents who don't want their HOA dues going up to cover maintenance of roads. So what's the magic ratio? 2/3? 75%? I don't know.

-Lee @ www.rootsinalpharetta.com

Anonymous said...

Do not forget to include the affected residents on Cogburn and Francis rd. This will negatively impact their properties.

If the adjacent homeowners are on board with it and Crooked Creek reimburses the city the taxpayer money that has been paid to maintain the road then we have a deal.

Anonymous said...

council could care less about cogburn n francis residents all they care about are the sds

Anonymous said...

I have a friend who was looking to purchase a home in crooked creek earlier in the year. After explaining the controversy covering this subdivision she opted for another city altogether.

After reading this article we are both relieved she did.

Anonymous said...

How about gating an open road that is all residential?? If fifty large propery owners are in agreement then we should be able to stop through traffic as well. Oh that's right, we don't count, just subdivisions, even though we pay more in taxes individually due to the larger size acreage, but they have less acreage and more votes. Which is more fair? Maybe we should get one vote per acre around here to even it out and get the same treatment and attention from council.

Anonymous said...

it has very little to do with safety and very MUCH to do with the 'status' that will come with being able to say they live in a "gated community" as what is the percentage of homeowners on the main drag that are affected by this??? - in the meantime traffic will become even a bigger nightmare for the immediate area ESPECIALLY when the new school opens!

Anonymous said...

This is getting better and better. Our council will have to work overtime to make this right for the "city of Milton", not just those who live in CC. Agree with
post 12:19 PM. If they get their gate, I want mine. So whatca gonna say council???

Anonymous said...

Why is council considering the issue of easing the 100% approval? This is wrong WRONG!!!!
Why is this particular CC road deemed as not serving public interest? That is laughable. Seems that council consists of "Pete and repeat" with unbelievable rulings. Another bending of the law to the whims of chosen ones.

Anonymous said...

What is kind of ironic is that it is because this road serves the needs of the public SO well that they want it gated. Thousands cut through there every day, isn't that serving a pretty good need??

Anonymous said...

Remember, if the gate is approved, then the Crooked Creek roads are then private roads and the residents have to pick up the maintenance bill.

The residents in the gated section of White Columns certainly followed the "prestige" of the gate and then up the ante with a full time security guard. I know that many of these residents are complaining about their HOA costs since they pay for the road maintenance and the security guard on top of their over the top entrance landscaping. The costs of their "prestige" has even pushed them into attempting to amend the White Columns bylaws to have the other, non-gated sections pick up some of their landscaping expenses.

My point is, it sounds great, it's prestigious, but wait the bills start rolling in every year and it starts to lose its luster.

Anonymous said...

if mcc lets one road gate i want a gate for thompson rd

Anonymous said...

Hey!!! Why not gate the entire city of milton? That way we can eliminate unwanted traffic from surrounding areas. This is a safety issue as well as benefit of security. Joe seems to feel that CC residents deserve the above. Why not all residents?

Anonymous said...

I would support the gating of our city. I have alot of friends that would support gating Milton as well.
Gate Milton and watch everyones property values rise.

Anonymous said...

If the City of Milton is considering Crooked Creek gating, then is there a moratorium on street repair until that time it is decided, or is Crooked Creek getting road repairs done first in hopes that it is going to be gated. Everyone should call or email everyone on City Council and demand a moratorium on street repairs until a decision is made!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tim Enloe said...

All:

Keep in mind that the article that is posted is not about "gating Crooked Creek." It is about the privitization and gating of a city owned and tax payer funded street; Club Creek Drive.

Tim Enloe
Accessmilton.com
770 653 0552

GNR said...

Hey Tim, that's the only road into Crooked Crook.

Tim Enloe said...

GNR:

Good to hear from you.

Club Creek Drive is the only arterial road that connects Hwy 9 and Francis. There are other roads within the subdivison of Crooked Creek.

Tim Enloe
Accessmilton.com
770 653 0552

GNR said...

Tim-

Gating Creek Club Drive at both Hwy. 9 and Francis Road would be effectively gating Crooked Creek off from the rest of the area.

Wouldn't this really be about the privitization of multiple city streets?

I don't believe the city would be able to "abandon" only Creek Club Drive.

-George

GNR said...

Allow me to further clarify.

My thought would be that Council would have to poll residents for each road inside Crooked Creek, not just Creek Club Drive in order to property justify allowing any privatization to occur.

What if for instance, the residents of Autumn Close do NOT vote for privatization of that particular street?

What happens then? If the community is gated, and the residents voted for that to remain a public road, then what would be the justification for the city to maintain a street that does not serve public interest?

-George

Tim Enloe said...

GNR:

I see your point and respect it.

However, not only does council have to take into consideration those taxpayers within the subdivision of Crooked Creek, they must also taken into consideration the other Milton residents who have a tax investment in Club Creek Drive=> As we both know, this road is a publicly funded facility.

Also, keep in mind that IF this road is privitized, expect a snowball of requests from all subdivisions; even those that lead to no where.

You know me: Equal treatment across the board. If you all for one; you must allow for all.

Hope things are well.

Tim Enloe
Accessmilton.com
770 653 0552

Anonymous said...

Ya'll are getting me a little confused you last 2 or 3 posters. The 100% or 70% includes all Crooked Creek residents. They do not take the poll on each street. It does not matter if a whole street does not want it gated, if the percentage signs a request and City Councils elects, then it will be done. I just don't feel they need to do any repairs if this is an open topic of discussion.

Crooked Creek Resident said...

It's my understanding that all of the roads within Crooked Creek would be privatized and the 100% (or perhaps lower) approval would apply to all of the 640 residents of Crooked Creek, not just the residents of Creek Club Drive.

Tim, you have reiterated that Creek Club Drive is a taxpayer funded road, but in fact, construction of all of Crooked Creek's roads were paid for by the developer, not County or City taxpayers. While it is true that the County and City are responsible for maintaining CC's roads, very little money has been spent on these roads over the years.

Why would Milton taxpayers object to CC homeowners taking over this expense going forward?

Tim Enloe said...

Gating a public street leads to many issues not considered:

1. Requests will come in on a regular basis requesting gating throughout Milton; be it subdivision or open road neighborhood; if gating one road is allowed; you will have to allow gating for all.

2. Why is it that the residents of Francis and Cogburn should have to deal with the traffic that the residents of CC do not want? Is their safety and the desire to protect their property values any different? After all, it is pretty easy to realize that with subdivision construction, traffic and crime followed: more people on less acreage always draws a crowd.

I think what Milton really has to decide is "What do we want to be?" If that choice is that of coventants, gates, and the like, then so be it. However, with that choice comes the requirement for those who reside or own acreage to be given the flexibility to sell their property for the highest and best use possible without objection.

I used to believe that both the open road neighborhoods and subdivision lifestyles could co-exists in a neighborly fashion; each viewing the other equally and respectfully.

After seeing so many double standards since incorporation, I no longer think that is possible.

Tim Enloe
Accessmilton.com
770 653 0552

Anonymous said...

I would encourage Tim and our Mayor and Council to take some time to drive north through the east side of Milton during the evening rush hour.

First try driving north on Hwy 9. Right after you pass the entrance to Crooked Creek, traffic will come to a dead stop. Daily commuters from Forsyth County avoid this traffic by cutting through Crooked Creek and getting back on Highway 9 at Francis Road. This is the flow of traffic that Crooked Creek wants to stop by gating.

Also, try driving north on Cogburn Road. Traffic will flow freely through the traffic light at Cogburn and Bethany but will come to a dead stop halfway to Francis Road. A line of 30-50 northbound cars will be waiting to pass through the four-way stop at Cogburn and Francis.

If the City cared about the residents of Cogburn Road - and all of northeast Milton - they would put a traffic light at Cogburn and Francis to resolve this daily issue. This would eliminate the need of any resident of northeast Milton to cut through Crooked Creek.

Tim Enloe said...

Club Creek Drive is a city funded tax payer owned street just like Cogburn and Francis. I ask again, why should these residents be treated differently than those in a subdivision?

The first rule of law in purchasing a home is to look at everything that impacts said property; this goes for residents in the subdivisions as well as the ORNs. Sounds like some folks should have chosen another option.

I am sorry you don't like dealing with traffic and speeding that has been created by growth; the majority of which has come from those who wanted to live in a new subdivision and all the conveniences and amenities that come with them.

I have the utmost respect for those in Crooked Creek and wish them nothing but the best be it safety, property values, or otherwise.

However, the bottom line is quite simple: If the council allows gating of any city owned taxpayer funded street, they will be created a snowball affect that will not go away.

Equal treatment under the law. The last thing we need is another Cowart Road situation...

Tim Enloe
Accessmilton.com
770 653 0552

GNR said...

Someone please correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought I remembered reading that road abandonment required that the road must link to THREE connector / collector streets in order to be eligible for abandonment.

I believe that this requirement was a prerequisite not only to the 100% approval clause, but also to the "public interest" clause as well.

Even if the above is not correct, I stand by my comments that the city has a much larger issue at hand than just Creek Club Drive. Legally it would make sense that all affected are given the opportunity to vote on privatization of all roads on an individual basis, even if all are contained in a single subdivision.

-George

Travis Allen said...

George-

I think you're referring to the Fulton County Road Closure Policy, which Milton adopted.

It's a pretty large document, but I'd be happy to send to Tim at his request, I've included what you were speaking about below:

2.1 IMPLEMENTATION CONSIDERATIONS

I. The Department of Public Works will only support a road closure on paved local residential streets,
located within unincorporated Fulton County. Local streets are those classified by Fulton County as
primarily used to directly access land parcels. Residential streets are those where the adjacent land
use is deemed primarily residential in nature. Gravel roads will not be considered for publicly
maintained road closure. Given the considerable annual maintenance cost of such roads, it would be
inappropriate to spend public funds on a roadway that would not serve the public good.

II. The Department of Public Works will only support a road closure if the road in question is part of a
neighborhood that connects to at least three different collector roads. In the case of a neighborhood
with the requisite multiple connections, Public Works staff will consider the closure of specific
access points to redirect traffic flow through the neighborhood. Public Works will not support the
closure of a single road that connects two collector roads. For purposes of this policy, a collector
road is defined as any road that the Department of Public Works has given a functional
classification of collector or higher.

That should be enough to annoy a few folks...in section I, it says a road must be PAVED, but as Tim likes to point out, Cowart Road is UNPAVED! As for part II, it specifically says "Public Works will not support the
closure of a single road that connects two collector roads" which is exactly what Creek Club Drive does.

Unless the city has changed this process, they'd be in violation of their own laws if they privatized Creek Club Drive, just as Fulton County was apparently in violation when they installed a barrier on Cowart Road.

Anonymous said...

I believe this document relates to roads that are to be maintained by the City (i.e. "supported by the Department of Public Works") after closure - not to roads that would be privatized like Crooked Creek's roads.

In any event, I voted for City Council members who would solve the problems of its residents, not to blindly cling to systems set in place by Fulton County without regard to the needs of its residents.

Tim, I hope you are right about the snowball effect - it would be a very good thing for Milton taxpayers if every subdivision in Milton volunteered to pay for its own road maintenance and traffic enforcement.

Anonymous said...

Can they gate it, lock it, and throw away the key?

Anonymous said...

That is good, really good previous post. In so doing, the open road neighborhoods would see a dramatic drop in speeding and a decrease in amount of trash along our frontages.

Anonymous said...

The City of Milton should stop preserving its outdated, unsafe open roads. Expand Bethany Road and make it look like Windward Parkway, Old Milton, Mansell Road and every other east-west thoroughfare in North Fulton.

Anonymous said...

Have yet to notice the neighborhoods located along Old Milton, Windward Pkwy and Mansell Road. Perhaps a subdivision entry but not a neighborhood. If this idea comes forward, all west side residents of Bethany should offer their frontage for this expansion.
The east side of Bethany can go for commercial zoning. Great Idea!!