by Jonathan Copsey; The Milton Herald
MILTON, Ga. – The Milton mayor and city council discussed proposed changes to the city's laws regarding animal-related buildings in front yards.
Currently, the law allows uncovered riding areas in front yards of residential areas and only in commercial areas that have properties of more than 10 acres.
"That means that if you are a non-residential and have 9-and-a-half acres, you can't have one," said Kathleen Field, the city's community development director.
Covered riding areas – rings that have bleachers and lighting as well as some sort of overhead structure – are forbidden in residential areas but allowed in non-residential, again only if the property is more than 10 acres.
But why would a horse-riding ring be permissible in a residential area but restricted only to very large non-residential areas?
That's one of the reasons council asked staff to clean up the law.
Along with that, discussion involved allowing barns in front yards and whether they should be limited to just horses or all livestock. The current law also does not distinguish between housing horses and other animals.
Field said Milton's laws on barns have been tailored to force owners to locate them in their back or side yards. There are strict limits on placing them in the front of a property.
Council also discussed forcing residential neighborhoods to add decorative fencing along their right-of-way.
In the past, only commercial properties were required to build a white 3-or-4 board fence along their roadway, but residential areas were exempt.
"This is to enhance the equestrian look of Milton," Field said. "We felt that every property, regardless of use, should all be mandated to have this fence."
Relaxed sign laws
Milton's sign ordinance will be relaxed, Field said.
"We looked at the entire sign ordinance," she said. "We had a lot of input and we have suggested modifications to the ordinance."
Specifically, she said the limitation on the percentage of window space that can be covered with signage has been relaxed from 5 percent to 20 percent per framed window.
Also, large balloon-type signs or spotlights used to advertise a grand opening could be allowed for a limited amount of time around the event. Right now, they are forbidden.
Field said staff will return before council at the Feb. 28 meeting with suggested changes to be approved.