Sunday, February 20, 2011

Milton council mulls changing road privatization rules.

State change to law allows flexibility

By Jonathan Copsey; Appen Newspapers

February 15, 2011

MILTON - Privatizing a road is a touchy subject. Residents of a subdivision may be concerned over the safety of their roads thanks to commuters cutting through. However, those commuters are using their roads because the main ones are clogged with too much traffic. If the subdivision is cut off, that's one less route through Milton.

At last week's meeting, the council heard from city staff, which said Milton should look at changing its rules now that state law has changed to give municipalities more leeway in deciding what roads to abandon.

When a municipality abandons a road – thereby privatizing it – the city stops paying for the upkeep. The residents who wished their road privatized would be responsible for keeping it up to city code, but they would have the freedom to do what they please in regards to traffic-calming measures– installing speed bumps or even gating off the road.

A new law introduced by Jan Jones (R-Milton) last year relaxes the burden on cities that want to abandon roads. Under the previous law, cities had to get 100 percent approval of all residents who may be affected by the abandonment. In a subdivision, that could mean every resident within.

City Attorney Ken Jarrard said that, under the new law, council could have wide leeway in how it decides who gets to privatize their roads, basing judgment on whether it serves the public interest to keep the road.

"That is altogether a different thing," Jarrard said to the council. "You as a city council get to determine what is in the best interest of the city. That's why you were elected."

He added, "I think that's a significant change."

All North Fulton cities have the 100 percent rule and, to staff's knowledge, there are no other cities thinking of changing their policy.

Now that the door is open to change the city's law, most council members voiced concern to requiring every affected resident's approval.

"I don't believe 100 percent approval is a realistic standard," said Council member Karen Thurman, whose sentiment was echoed by the others on council, with Joe Longoria adding that homeowners' associations should get more of a say.

"Something like 75 percent of Milton's citizens live in a subdivision that has an association coupled with it," Longoria said. "I think we should allow the HOA to play a role."

Several subdivisions in Milton have pushed to close off their roads to cut down of traffic and crime, however they cannot gate off a public road. The residents of Crooked Creek subdivision have long been asking to gate their roads, and that was a major issue during Longoria's election campaign. However, they have fallen short of the 100 percent resident approval.

Staff will take council's comments and revise the ordinance, bringing it back before council for approval in a few months.

Also discussed at the meeting:

* An alcoholic beverage license was unanimously approved to "Erwood's," a new business to open in Crabapple.

* Qualifying fees for this year's municipal elections were set at $390, or 3 percent of the salary a council member would make in the year. The elections will be held Nov. 8, with the seats of Julie Zahner Bailey (District 1), Burt Hewitt (District 4) and Alan Tart (District 6) on the ballot.


Anonymous said...

Are you kidding me? I guess Joe Longoria is fullfilling his promises to Crooked Creek residents and ruining Milton in the long term. Everyone rants and raves about how beautiful it is out here, large tracts of land, four board fences, horses, trees, pastures, blah blah blah but Council and subdivisions treat the very people who provide your beautiful backdrop for a city like horse manure.

Anonymous said...

My subdivision is full of beautiful trees, thank you very much. And I thank God for those trees, not the backdrop people.

Unknown said...

Is Milton being ruined? It's called progress; change is inevitable.

Anonymous said...

Than change the city horse logo and the motto of the City of Milton to " A City where Progress is inevitible and soon to look like every metro Atlanta City." Drop the pastoral crap and small town feel bs and let's just get it on then, and start selling off our land as soon as possible to as many developers as possible.

Yes Milton will be ruined as soon as the economy bounces back, especially with this developer influenced City Council. I guess you don't want your property value to go up. Maybe we can get the land next to your subdivision rezoned and plop a cell tower and a gas station next to it.


Anonymous said...

Would your house have increased in value without the subdivisions?

Anonymous said...

You bet it would. Some of the subdivisions have actually spoiled the very environment which the city heralds as RURAL / MILTON'S HORSE COUNTRY. As yet, the city has done nothing to preserve and protect what is remaining.
Wonder why so many people have moved here? Could it be due to the increase in population and development? I think not.

Anonymous said...

They moved here because they didn't want to live in a neighborhood over in Alpharetta, off Winward or Northpoint area, because it's TOO CONGESTED and commercialized. That's why they chose here. Best of both worlds in Milton. Close to just about everything, but once you get into the city the rest of Metro Atlanta dissapears.

Anonymous said...

If an open road is 100% residential, can we privitize it and put a gate on both ends?

Anonymous said...

It seems like some people would like to privitize open road areas by restricting all new development, including improvement in the road infrastructure.

Anonymous said...

Absolutely. If it's privitized then yes no need to worry about improving the infrastructure because unlike a subdivision such as Crooked Creek, open roads range from 15-50+ homes, so the impact on the roads would be dimished as other people who don't live on that road would have to navigate around them to get to their destination. Wouldn't that be fun! Too much double standard in government.

Anonymous said...

OMG and think of all the trash on the right of way that all the open road residents wouldn't have to worry about picking up anymore! This idea is getting better and better!

Anonymous said...

If you choose to live on a property that is off a main road, than you are aware that people will be driving along that main road so that they can get to various destinations. In contrast, a subdivision is comprised of a cluster of homes. Subdivisions are designed so that the people who live in that community and their guest only need to access those streets within the subdivision. Also, most subdivisions have an HOA, which aggree to pay for the maintenence of the roads within the subdivision when they are gated. This concept is not new and it applies to many subdivisions in this country.

7:06 and 7:07, your frustration and anger is misguided. Clearly, there needs to be better infrastructure to accommodate the increasing population of Milton.