Thursday, January 31, 2008

Milton To Buy Providence?

by Jason Wright /

If Milton City Council gets its wish, Providence Park could be open and ready for recreation in as little as a few months.Well, parts of it, anyway.

Under a tentative plan being worked out by Milton City Attorney Mark Scott and Fulton County Attorney Gerry Clark, the city is looking to purchase Providence Park, which has been closed since January 2004 for groundwater and soil contamination.

Fulton would still be responsible for continued cleanups."We would basically assume maintenance and upkeep responsibilities for the park immediately," said Scott Jan. 11, a day after broaching the subject with Fulton County and Milton's council.Scott said he imagines the deal would include a "nominal payment" for the park and "indemnification of the city," or an agreement not to hold Milton responsible for future legal action or fines.Scott also thinks the city will probably have to fence off the parts of the park still needing cleanup. "From what I understand, with a little bit of maintenance, this is going to be a jewel," he said. "It's just going to do so much for our parks' ability."

But Fulton County Commissioner Lynne Riley said any transfer comes with liability. Fulton holds the park now and has closed it until the Environmental Protection Division (EPD) OKs all clean ups at Providence."We've left it in the city's hands how much liability they wish to assume based on their taking title to land that is under remediation," she said.With Providence closed, the county is protected if someone trespasses and is hurt. Not so if some portions were open, she said."As a representative of Fulton County's interests, I don't want to expose taxpayers to unnecessary costs and risks," she said.

Councilwoman Tina D'Aversa wrote a proclamation that was read at Milton's Jan. 10 council meeting promising to do everything necessary to bring Providence into Milton.She said the city is being urged by to apply for the EPD's Hazardous Site Reuse and Redevelopment Act, also known as the "Brownfields Act." Basically, it would release the city from liability and promote reuse of the closed site, according to a Sept. 5, 2007 letter sent to Fulton County's Public Works department by the EPD.According to Regina Campbell, compliance officer for Providence Park, under the Brownfield Act Milton would be liable for all soil cleanup. But Fulton has taken care of that already, so the city should be free and clear.But she has not seen the city's application yet."Still [Fulton County] has the liability of that [groundwater] clean up, we can't take on that role," said D'Aversa. "There's no additional liability that I can foresee."

Jessica Corbitt, public affairs manager for Fulton County, said the county's research indicates the decision is completely up to the EPD. Only it can decide whether or not to subdivide the park."The EPD has to make its decision before anyone moves forward," she said.

The city has already been involved in talks with the metro Atlanta YMCA to program recreation activities at the park. In addition, a police precinct housed in the main building at Providence is on the table.Dan Pile, group vice president for the Metro Atlanta YMCA, said his community group has been in talks with Fulton County about programming the park for at least the last 10 years. When Milton incorporated, the YMCA simply shifted its efforts to the new city."We saw this as an opportunity to serve taxpayers," said Pile. "It provides a excellent opportunity for education, it's centrally located ... we can expose this park to a larger section of taxpayers."

The YMCA is looking at using Providence Park's rock rappelling wall and natural beauty for a series of outdoor adventure and education camps, Pile said."There are very few parks with the amount of acreage that Providence has," said Pile, who added that previously the largely undeveloped park was "underutilized, unknown and not accessed."And the point, said D'Aversa and Scott, is to not let any more time pass when the city is hurting for parks and recreation options and unchecked environmental factors are depreciating the gifts Providence holds."We need to get in there and have a presence there so it's not abandoned property that suffers the fate of all abandoned property," said Scott.

Interested In The Proposed Milton Trailway?

Many of our residents have worked hard to create a proposed Milton Trailway system. While quite a bit of money is needed to make this idea a reality, you can preview some of the information here->

So what do you think? What ideas do you have that would help fund this aspect of the Milton Community? Share your thoughts below!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Letter From Council Person Julie Zahner-Bailey

Dear Friends, Neighbors and Milton Citizens,

I promised to provide you an update tied to the discussion surrounding the "no sewer" policies as discussed at the Mayor and Council Work Session of January 17th. Many of you emailed your opinions as to what you expect the "no sewer" policies to continue to mean for Milton, previously unincorporated Northwest Fulton County. Thank you for ensuring your opinions and expectations are communicated to the Mayor, Council and staff. Your continued input remains important on this critical issue.

The next meeting tied to this topic of Milton's sewer versus no sewer policies has been called for tomorrow night, Wednesday, January 30th at 6:00 p.m. at City Hall. As a bit of background, the item was first placed on the Jan. 17th , 2008 Work Session agenda at the request of staff. It was noted during the meeting that staff wanted to verify with the Mayor and Council what "no sewer" meant to us for purposes of applying those policies to various requests that come before staff. The Work Session was for discussion purposes only and no votes were taken. Staff noted that they understood the no inter basin transfer policies for the Little River Basin, but were focused on trying to verify our intent regarding possible sewer extension within the Big Creek Basin to certain parcels in that basin that did not currently have access to public sewer.

For the record, I made it clear that my understanding historically and currently is that the "no sewer" policies for this area include no extension of sewer beyond where sewer currently exists - regardless of whether the parcel(s) is in the Little River Basin or the Big Creek Basin. The extension of public sewer and the extension of associated trunk lines to any parcels not currently served by such sewer trunk lines would represent sewer extension from my perspective. Others on Council shared this view, but not all.

As noted above, the next step is that a Special Called meeting has been scheduled for tomorrow, Wed., January 30, 2008 at 6:00 p.m. and will be held at City Hall. Please view the agenda by using this link.Tomorrow night's meeting will include additional discussions on this very important topic and staff will provide maps of the areas for which they are asking for additional clarification. This is a public meeting and public comments will be allowed. I encourage you to express your opinions in writing and at the meeting during the public comment period and/or when the item itself is before us. Beyond tomorrow night's meeting, a brief summary of the results of the Mayor and Council Meeting of January 24th can be found to the right.

Please note, Milton has changed our Mayor and Council meeting dates as well as our Work Sessions to Monday nights beginning with the first Monday, i.e. February 4th. These meetings will begin at 6:00 p.m. Scroll down for more details on this topic and use this link to review the Resolution that initiated the change of dates including the attached chart of dates for 2008. On the right are the results of the zoning cases that came before us on January 24th.Please join me in congratulating Council member Tina D'Aversa as our new Mayor Pro-Tem. She was nominated by Mayor Lockwood and received a unanimous showing of support.As always, your input and comments are valuable and I encourage you to share them as we affirm what the no sewer policies mean for Milton and our collective community. Please let me know if you have any questions or comments.

All my best,

Julie Zahner Bailey
Milton City Council
770-664-5529 (h)
404-310-6344 (c)

Residents Aren't The Only Ones Upset At Losing Trees To That Water Main...

Many Thanks To Miltonian Michelle.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Foster's Grille Owner Michael O'Keefe Praises Milton Nights!

Tim, Thanks for a great night last night.

I think it was a great success. I have posted the $158 from last night on my donation page.If anyone wants to make a donation, they can go to Thanks again for your support. I really appreciate it.Have a great week.

Michael O'Keefe
O'Keefe Holding Group LLC
Foster's Grille of Alpharetta & Crabapple
The Best Burger in Atlanta
To Find out more about your Local Foster's Grille, click here->

Saturday, January 26, 2008

It's All About Community...
Saturday, Jan 26; 2008. - Roughly 200 Miltonians showed up for the very first Milton Nights...held at the Foster's Grille in Crabapple. Discussion and excitement could be felt throughout as old friends created new memories while others were meeting one another for the first time. The following are some pictures from the wonderful event. Stay tuned next month as Milton Nights... continues to spread the love and comradery of Milton, GA!
To find out more about Foster's Grille, click here->

To Find Out More About Milton Allstate Agent Terry Mechling, Click here->

Friday, January 25, 2008


Many Thanks to Patti Silva for this important and life saving email!

According to <> , Spalding AC will be shut down for repairs/painting effective 1/28/08. All remaining animals will be gassed as there will be no place for them. They are not accepting any more OS or picking up until the repairs are complete.
For the Strays,
Isabel Musial
Stray Atlanta, Inc.
404.745.0067 (f)

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Avensong Donates Vest To Police Dog Da Silva.

The wonderful folks in Avensong purchased a police dog vest for Milton's first police dog; Da Silva. It was relayed during the presentation that the vest is made with Kevlar. The vest can protect Milton's very own from knife and gun attacks.

A Reminder from BH Alliance.

Thursday's Council Meeting contains several important rezonings that might be of interest to you. The full agenda and Staff reports are available on the Milton website.

In Crabapple - Previously deferred case for office, commercial and high density housing.
RZ07-005 / VC07-002 - 855 Mayfield Road To rezone from AG-1 to MIX use to develop a total of 15,000 sq.ft of medical office; 3,500 sq.ft of commercial; and 9 residential units all on 4.09 acres. Rezoning request included variances as follows: Request to reduce the 75-foot buffer and 10-foot improvement setback to a 15-foot landscape strip adjacent to AG-1 by Milton Medical Holdings, LLC c/o Jay Davis. (This item was deferred on August 16, 2007).


This case originally came before the Planning Commission on 6/26/07, the applicant requested a 30 day deferral to modify site plan per Staff's recommendations. On 7/24/07, Planning Commission heard the case and recommended denial. The Mayor and City Council heard the case on 8/16/07 at that point the case was deferred for four months. This four month period was to allow the Crabapple Crossroads Plan to be evaluated by the Comprehensive Plan Advisory Committee and consultant BRPH to determine if an interim plan is necessary for Crabapple. The outside consultant and the Committee have determined that no interim changes will be made to the Crabapple Plan and the instead, any changes need to be considered as a part of the overall Comprehensive Land Use Plan Update process. This result is that this case returns to Mayor and City Council tomorrow night, Thursday, January 24th with no new information.

Staff recommendation- Denial.
Planning Commission Denial.

Comprehensive Plan Advisory Committee (CPAC)- No expansion of the non-residential Mixed Use capacity in the Crabapple Crossroads Overlay until the New Comprehensive Plan for the City of Milton is complete with specific recommendations for the desired total size of the appropriate Neighborhood Activity or Community Activity Level Node for the Crabapple Crossroads Overlay Area. The CLUP update process may or may not result in increased density levels. This case should be evaluated on the merits of the existing 2025 Comprehensive Land Use Plan. Based on the 2025 CLUP, Staff and the Planning Commission recommended denial.
To date nothing has changed to support anything other than a denial of the Milton Medical Holdings request. The facts indicate the following:

The rezoning request violated the Crabapple Crossroads Community Plan and Policy for Crabapple as approved by Fulton County Board of Commissioners, June 4, 2003 and adopted by City of Milton on December 21, 2006.
The request is inconsistent with the existing 2025 Comprehensive Land Use plan.
The proposed development is too intense for the recommended use.Exceeds the 100,000 square foot office and retail commercial square foot maximums defined by the Neighborhood Activity Node for the Crabapple Crossroads.
Staff notes in the analysis, "The subject site appears to have reasonable use as currently zoned with the existing farm house and associated buildings with the AG-1 district."
The Mayor and City Council voted UNANIMOUSLY on July 12, 20006 to deny a similar rezoning case for the Crabapple Crossroads in part because it also asked to violate the 100,000 square foot maximum for retail/commercial space and it was too intense relative to the Crabapple Crossroads Plan.
The 100,000 square foot maximum is Policy - it is the definitive policy of Milton as evidenced by the adoption of the Fulton County 2025 CLUP and as defined by other policy decisions made to date by the City of Milton. Effectively, this policy is therefore the law of the land use policy and not just a guideline, and should be upheld. Staff notes during the August 16, 2007 City Council meeting, "The 100,000 caps for both office and commercial space is absolutely a policy expressing the Comprehensive Plan."

What Can You Do?

Contact the Mayor, City Council Staff and Public Works via email, letters and phone calls with your opinions about any of the issues facing Milton.
Attend the public meetings
Tell a friend, a neighbor and your Homeowner's Association (HOA) and get them involved.
Join the Birmingham Hopewell Alliance (BHA) as an individual and as an HOA and renew your 2007 membership.
Your opinions matter. Please copy or blind copy to the Birmingham Hopewell Alliance, so we can track responses and community desires as well.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Johns Creek, Milton May Get Tax Refunds

By DOUG NURSE The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Published on: 01/24/08

Fulton County's checks to its two new cities could be in the mail shortly.
Legislation being filed this week by state Rep. Jan Jones (R-Milton) will require Fulton County to give Johns Creek and Milton unspent tax money collected from area residents before the cities were incorporated.
Milton City Councilwoman Tina D'Aversa said she wants to use the money to fix some intersections and develop or restore city parks, such as Providence Park, Birmingham Park, and some of the city's pocket parks.
"There will be a lot of things we had in mind for our citizens that we can do much sooner than later," she said. "We'll be able to start delivering on some of these promises we made."
Fulton County still has about $5.4 million it collected in 2006 from residents of what is now Milton, and $2.7 million from Johns Creek taxpayers. Sandy Springs had no money left over in its old accounts.
The cash came from special property taxes collected from residents before the cities incorporated. The money was to be spent in the areas from which it was collected. When the cities were incorporated on Dec. 1, 2006, officials were surprised to find there was still unspent money in the Johns Creek and Milton districts.
The money has been collecting dust because, the county claimed, there was no legal mechanism for returning the money. The law never anticipated that there would be unspent money.
"Fulton County is a willing suitor," Jones said. "They're willing to give us the money, but we're just going to clarify the law."
The county attorney's office told Commissioner Lynne Riley that the county couldn't just give it to the cities because there's a legal prohibition against counties just giving money, or property, to cities. Riley said she was told the law also says the county can only spend its money in unincorporated areas, which means they can't pay directly for projects inside cities.
But the county couldn't use the money either. A law called the Shafer Amendment, which addresses the creation of new cities, says that money raised in specific areas can't be transferred to any other county budgetary account.
For Milton, the $5.4 million is about a third of its $16 million budget. For Johns Creek, $2.7 million would help launch its fire department or police department.
City, county, and state officials considered three options: Rebate the cash directly to the taxpayers, give it to the cities, or use it as matching funds on behalf of the cities for road improvements.
Ultimately, giving the money to the cities was deemed the simplest and fastest way to get the money back to the areas from which it came.

Fulton To Pay Students In After-School Program

Creekside High and Bear Creek Middle will pay students $8 an hour for "Learn & Earn" program

By MICHELLE E. SHAW Published on: 01/22/08
Fulton County schools want to pay students to stay in school a little longer.

Forty students from Creekside High and Bear Creek Middle schools in Fairburn will be the first to try the "Learn & Earn" program, where students will get paid to attend after-school tutoring programs.

Students will make approximately $8 an hour, and be eligible for bonuses if their grades improve, said Kirk Wilks, district spokesman. The initial students are in the eighth and 11th grades.

There will be a community kick-off Thursday at 3 p.m. in the Creekside High media center, 7405 Herndon Rd., Fairburn.

With the support of Fulton County Commissioner Robb Pitts, the pilot program will last 15 weeks and pay students for participation and performance. The object of the program is to determine if paying students to study will improve classroom attendance, grades and test scores, according to a news release from the district.

The initiative is funded by Charles Loudermilk, chairman and chief executive officer of Aaron Rents, through the Learning Makes A Difference Foundation. The foundation is a local non-profit designed to improve education through creative programs.

The students chosen for the program were picked by school staff, based on attendance, grades, test scores and free or reduced lunch status, the release said. Is Proud To Present...

WHEN: Saturday / January 26th / 6pm.
WHERE: Foster's Grille / Crabapple.
Mapquest Link.

Looking To Meet Your Milton Neighbors? Need A Local Networking Source? Want To Make New Memories With Old Friends?

Then Head On Over To Foster's Grille In Crabapple This Upcoming Saturday, January 26th At 6pm for Food, Fun, & Family!

Fosters Owner Michael O'Keefe Had This To Share Regarding The Anticipated Event: "For the first Milton night at Foster's Grille, we will run a dollar off special on all adult entrée's and beer / wine. In addition, I will donate 10% of all net proceeds to Team in Training, which benefits the Leukemia & Lymphoma society."

So Come Out Saturday Night And MEET SOMEBODY!!!

Looking For A Foster's Grille Menu? Click Here!
Need A Money Saving Coupon For The Evening? Click here->

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Letter To The Editor

NOTE: respects all citizens opinions and encourages open dialog. Should you or some one else you know have a differing view point that Mr. Jones, we are more than happy to provide equal time.

The following was sent to us by Milton Resident Greg Jones. We have received approval to post it in our News section.

Discussion is encouraged.

January 18, 2008

Mr. Chris Lagerbloom, Public Safety Director and Interim City Manager
Mr. Tom Wilson, Director of Community Development
City of Milton
13000 Deerfield Parkway, Building 100
Milton, GA 30004

RE: Request for Termination and Restart of Application Process
and Amendment/Correction to the Planning Commission Agenda for its
January 29, 2008 meeting concerning Special Use Permit Application

Dear Mr. Lagerbloom and Mr. Wilson:

I am writing you regarding Special Use Permit Application U07-011/VC07-017, which is being made to allow for construction of a 63,400 square foot, five building private school complex at 13620 Hopewell Road in Milton. The applicant is Monticello Real Estate Investment, LLC. This application, which also contains four variance requests, is scheduled to go before the City’s Planning Commission on Tuesday, January 29, 2008 and City Council on Thursday, February 21, 2008. Staff is recommending “Approval Conditional, Denial – Parts 1-4.”

I wish to present you with several well-founded concerns regarding the Public Involvement and Public Participation processes associated with this application, as discussed in the Planning Commission Agenda documents on the City of Milton website for the January 29, 2008 meeting. The agenda documents reflect that a Community Zoning Information Meeting (“CZIM”) on this application was held on January 2, 2008, with forty-four (44) people in attendance from the community. The applicant also presented its plans to the Design Review Board (“DRB”) on January 8, 2008. The agenda documents (page 14) also indicate that “…The notice of rezoning was sent, to ad jacent property owners, on January 14, 2008.” I received this notice on January 15, 2008.

As an immediately adjacent property owner, residing at 800 Cooper Sandy Cove in The Lake at Cooper Sandy subdivision, immediately to the west of the subject property, I did not receive a notice of the “…Special Use Permit…” application until after the CZIM and DRB meetings were held. In fact I did not become aware of this application until my wife spotted the small two-foot square tan sign posted on a fence just south of the property’s “For Sale” sign, the tan sign blending in with the tan color of the grass behind the fence. While this sign is most likely compliant with the City’s signage requirements for this application and was probably placed there in compliance with any required timeframes, it is extremely inconspicuous, and virtually impossibl e to notice, much less be read, when driving by it at 35 miles per hour on Hopewell Road. Perhaps a fluorescent-colored sign would draw more attention and compel people to investigate further. Neither my wife nor I saw this sign until Saturday, January 12, 2008, as we do not regularly pass by the front of the subject property where the sign is posted. I only received the January 14, 2008 notice after contacting Robyn MacDonald in the City’s Community Development Office on Monday, January 14, 2008. It was then that I learned that the CZIM on the application had originally been set for December 26, 2007, but was postponed to January 2, 2008 due to the Christmas holiday. I would also note tha t this January 14, 2008 notice is for the January 29, 2008 Planning Commission meeting – the Planning Commission meeting at which this application was to be discussed in January was moved back from January 22, 2008. This application was delivered to the City on or about December 6, 2007, meaning that as an immediately adjacent property owner, I was not formally notified of this application by the City or the applicant for 40 days from the date this application was made to the City.

We have contacted all of our nearby neighbors in The Lake at Cooper Sandy, and none of them that I have spoken with received any notice of the CZIM meeting prior to the January 14, 2008 notice. On January 14, 2008, we contacted Community Club Management Vice President Arlan Huntziger, the Home Owner’s Association management firm for The Lake at Cooper Sandy, and she indicated they received no notice of this January 2, 2008 CZIM meeting either.

There has been no meaningful outreach by the applicant to me or any of my neighbors during this process. We first learned of the school’s plans on or about September 26, 2007 from an acquaintance who attends the Alpharetta First Methodist Church in downtown Alpharetta, a church that is affiliated with the Alpharetta Methodist Christian Academy (“AMCA”). My wife contacted Jennifer Duffey at AMCA and obtained contact information for Mr. J.T. Adams from the school. She called Mr. Adams that day and he discussed AMCA’s plans for the subject property with her in a telephone call she initiated. She located a drawing of the proposed school on AMCA’s website, a single two story building, nothing remotely suggesting plans for a 63,400 square foot, five building complex. She was informed by Mr. Adams that the school planned to apply to the City for approval to build the school in late February 2008, and hoped to close on the property by the end of February 2008 and begin construction shortly thereafter. In late October 2007, we received a phone call from Mr. Wynn Brannon, who represented himself to be a real estate agent representing the applicant. I left him a message, but he never returned my call. Those are the only contacts we have had with the applicant.

In addition to these issues, and probably most disturbing to me, is that on page 14 of the 20 page Planning Commission Agenda for the January 29, 2008 meeting, under the PUBLIC INVOLVEMENT section, Public Notice Requirements subsection, it states that “The use permit petition was advertised in the Milton Herald on January 9, 2008…” My wife picked up a copy of the subject issue of this publication from Appen Newspapers, publisher of the Milton Herald, on Thursday, January 17, 2008, and such advertisement or notice is not to be found. I usually read this paper and didn’t recall seeing a notice for this application when I read that edition of the paper last week. On page 27 of this issue of the Milton Herald, ther e are seven City of Milton public notices. I find it difficult to believe the paper would make an error and omit just this one notice, the one that will arguably have the most significant impact on Milton residents. This misrepresentation in the Planning Commission Agenda documents leads me to question what other possible errors or misrepresentation or faulty analyses are contained therein with respect to this application. It also leads me to question why there are so many public disclosure issues on this particular application within the City’s Community Development Office to allow for all of these apparent errors and/or omissions, or whether there is a deliberate attempt being made by someone or some group of people to a v oid any meaningful public discourse on this application. Given that the square footage size of the buildings to be built as part of this proposed project is equal to that of the King’s Ridge Christian School about a mile east of the subject property, meaningful public discourse is in order.

Based on these material and relevant facts, I strongly believe the City and applicant notification processes relating to this application have failed miserably, which I feel is a serious issue given the material impact this proposed school will have on the surrounding predominately residential/equestrian area of Milton. Given the lack of notification about this application to myself and my neighbors, and apparently to the public in general, it is very likely the majority of the 44 individuals who the agenda documents claim attended the January 2, 2008 CZIM were associated in some capacity with the applicant, since the applicant could well have communicated directly and separately from public notice requirements with those sympathetic to and involved with the application, such as AMCA pa rents or school Board members, faculty or staff. Thus the January 29, 2008 Planning Commission Agenda makes it appear there is virtually no opposition to this application, when in fact there is significant opposition based on the serious concerns many of my neighbors and myself have about this proposed development. Unfortunately this opposition has not had a reasonable opportunity to materialize and represent itself in the application process, given the poor management of the Public Involvement and Public Participation processes associated with this application.

Based upon this set of facts, I am respectfully asking the City to terminate the subject application and require the applicant to restart the application process with sufficient advance notice provided to all affected Milton property owners and residents. Further, I ask that the Planning Commission Agenda for the January 29, 2008 meeting be removed from the City’s website (with an adequate explanation why it was removed), or be amended to reflect the aforementioned errors and omissions in the Public Involvement and Public Participation sections of the documents in order for there to be an accurate public record of the facts surrounding this application.

I trust that given the facts I have presented above regarding the Public Involvement and Public Participation issues surrounding this application, the appropriate decision makers within the City of Milton offices will act in accordance with this well-founded and reasonable request, and restart this application to allow for the necessary public hearing and discussion that this complex application requires.

Please contact me with your decision at ‘’ or at (678) 575-5382. My fellow neighbors and I look forward to better understanding and sharing our valid and numerous concerns regarding this application and its impact on the immediate area around our neighborhood and homes.


Greg Jones
800 Cooper Sandy Cove

Monday, January 21, 2008

Birds Of A Feather...and a Racoon! Co-Founder Tim Enloe Snapped The Picture Above On Monday In The Open Road Neighborhood Of Bethany Farms At Bethany.

To put it kindly, Rocky Racoon won't be making any more late night trips in Milton. The three vultures above were giving Rocky a proper "burial" until they got spooked. And to think our taxpayers didn't even have to foot the bill!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Some Wonderful Milton Snow Pics By Miltonian Michelle!

More Milton Snow Pictures!!!

Send your Milton Snow Pictures to: / Subject: SNOW PICTURES!

Milton Snow Dog - Caesar.


Citizens need to weigh in on a sewer issue that could impact areas of Cherokee County and Milton around its northern rural borders. This will take only 5 minutes of your time to read and complete.PLEASE E-MAIL EPD TONIGHT BY MIDNIGHT, if at all possible!!!I apologize for the late notice but I just found out about this critical information. It's timely given the January 17, 2008 City of Milton Work Session that included a discussion of our own no sewer policies. I'll send a separate release specifically about that later. But given the immediate need to contact EPD in support of our Cherokee neighbors, let's focus on this first.What happens in NE Cherokee County will have a direct impact on rural Milton.Cherokee County Water and Sewerage Authority (CCWSA) is requesting a permit from the Environmental Protection Division (EPD) to add a wastewater treatment plant in NE Cherokee. If approved this could potentially bring sewer to our backdoor. In addition to the risk of sewer is the risk of high density development that will drive up traffic counts, increase storm water run-off and negatively impact our already impaired waterways within the COOSA basin. This is a perfect example of where we need to be aware and involved in what happens at our borders to ensure this unique region maintains its rural character. Many in Cherokee County believe that the introduction of sewer in rural areas may be detrimental to the infrastructure and to their way of life and do not want it brought to the northeastern area of Cherokee. They are asking us to appeal to EPD for a public hearing. Please read the sample letter provided; copy in whole or part or draft your own letter and send to the addresses listed on the sample. This should be done by midnight tonight, if at all possible, as the public comment period ends at that time. Even if you miss the deadline please still send it as your voice still matters.NOTE: I'm sending this to you from my personal e-mail address and not from the City of Milton. The views expressed are my own and, due to the last minute notice, this has not yet been a topic at council meetings. Sewer extension has long been a concern of mine as a steward of Milton and I want to keep you informed of issues that impact us within and outside our city borders.

Thank you!

Julie Zahner Bailey

Milton City Council
255 Hickory Flat Road
Milton, GA 30004
770-664-5529 (h)
404-310-6344 (c)


Marzieh Shahbazaz,
Director of Permitting, Compliance and Enforcement
Environmental Protection Division
4220 International Parkway, Suite 101
Atlanta, Georgia 30354
Re: NPDES Permit No. GA0038989

Dear Ms. Shahbazaz,

I live in the City of Milton and may be negatively impacted by the possible addition of a wastewater treatment facility in the northeastern part of Cherokee County which borders our community. Where Milton adjoins Cherokee it is primarily rural-residential and considers itself part of the same rural region as NE Cherokee. Not only do we share rural borders we also are part of the same endangered COOSA basin. Milton has a long-standing policy regarding no sewer extensions and no inter-basin transfers. Residents are concerned about the effects of neighboring counties bringing sewer and its resulting high density to the region, which may increase storm water run-off and negatively impact our already fragile waterways. As many citizens in Cherokee and Milton are concerned about this sewer plant, I believe a public hearing is needed. In addition to the negative impacts to our land-use plan, consideration should be given to the 13 incidents of sewerage spills in 2006 reported by Cherokee County Water and Sewer Authority (CCWSA) that resulted in 186,000 gallons of raw sewerage into these local waterways. The introduction of sewer to this area would bring with it more homes, more rooftops, more people, more water usage, more storm water run-off and more negative impacts to bodies of water already in violation of the Federal Clean Water Act, specifically the Etowah River and Lake Allatoona.Thank you for considering a public hearing for concerned citizens to express their views. Please notify me of the date and time of any scheduled hearing.




Snow has come to our Milton and oh what a beautiful sight to see! The picture above is from Tim & Ginger Enloe's house located in the open road neighborhood Bethany Farms at Bethany. Do you have some photos you'd like to share from your neck of the Milton wood?
(Please let us know the area that the photo was taken.)
If so, email them to us at / Subject: SNOW PICTURES!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Bill Would Change Fulton Deal with Bilboard Firms

By DOUG NURSEThe Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Two state legislators from north Fulton County on Thursday proposed a bill that would undo a key part of a proposed court settlement between the county and billboard companies.
The bill, sponsored by state Reps. Jan Jones (R-Milton) and Mark Burkhalter (R-Johns Creek), is intended to help several north Fulton cities faced with the erection of 70 billboards on their busiest roads.

"I feel strongly about this," Jones said to Milton City Council members. "I heard from everyone on the City Council, and the mayor, and you all feel strongly about it. I think it's a violation of local control."

The legislation would prohibit counties or cities from backdating such things as permits for signs, buildings or plats in areas that are no longer part of the original county or city.
Fulton County on Dec. 5 authorized a proposed court settlement with several billboard companies that would backdate permits for signs the county had denied under a sign ordinance the state Supreme Court subsequently found to be unconstitutional.

The County Commission approved the agreement rather than face paying more than $6.6 million in lost potential revenue to the companies. The new billboards would go into formerly unincorporated areas that are now the cities of Johns Creek, Milton, Sandy Springs and Alpharetta.

City officials have filed motions to be included in the court proceedings so they can argue that backdating permits is wrong, especially in areas no longer under Fulton's sign ordinance.


Tonight's work session at 5:30pm is about the claification of the sewer policy. This is NOT about extending sewer to unsewered areas.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Thursday, Jan 17th - Work Session At City Hall.

Many Thanks to the Birmingham Hopewell Alliance For The Following Information & Reminder.

City Council Work Session

The Mayor and City Council Work Session contains seven items of discussion. The Milton No Sewer Extension Policy will be discussed and requires your input. Let the Mayor and City Council know how you feel about the possibility of the extension of private and public sewer into the long standing No Sewer areas. The introduction of sewer into the non-sewered areas of Milton would drastically change our City.


Legislative Update (State Representative Jan Jones)
Discussion on a volunteer policy. (Interim City Manager Chris Lagerbloom)
Discussion on a Memorandum of Understanding with the Board of Education. (Community Development Director Tom Wilson) - A memo to allow the BOE to hire private inspectors for the necessary inspections. Milton will not incur the cost of inspections for the issuance of school building permits. This is a positive step in the mutually agreeable working relationship with Milton and the BOE.
Discussion on Property Tax Collection. (Finance Manager Stacey Inglis)
Discussion on Special Events. (Project Coordinator Linda Blow)
Traffic Summit. (Public Works Director Dan Drake)
Discussion on a No Sewer Extension Policy. (Community Development Director Tom Wilson

What Can You Do?

Contact the Mayor, City Council, Staff and Planning Commission via email, letters and phone calls with your opinions about any of the issues facing Milton.
Attend the public meetings.
Tell a friend, a neighbor and your Homeowner's Association (HOA) and get them involved.
Join the Birmingham Hopewell Alliance (BHA) as an individual and as an HOA and renew your 2008 membership.
Your opinions matter. Please copy or blind copy to the Birmingham Hopewell Alliance, so we can track responses and community desires as well.

Winter Weather Advisory.

Issued at: 4:36 PM EST 1/16/08, expires at: 12:45 AM EST 1/17/08

Winter weather advisory now in effect until 7 am est thursday, The winter weather advisory is now in effect until 7 am est thursday over much of north georgia, north of a line from franklin to griffin to warrenton. Precipitation advancing northward initially in the form light snow late this afternoon will quickly transition to more of a sleet and rain mix through early evening. Surface temperatures are expected to fall below freezing by late evening. No significant accumulations of snow and sleet are expected. However, a light glaze of ice is possible on area bridges, overpasses, and power lines late this evening through early Thursday morning, creating hazardous travel conditions. The potential for accumulating ice is greatest from near cartersville, to the northeast atlanta suburbs, and northeastward along the interstate 85 corridor. Temperatures will rise above freezing thursday morning. A winter weather advisory means that periods of snow, sleet, or freezing rain will cause travel difficulties. Be prepared for slippery roads and limited visibilities, and use caution while driving.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Fulton County Water Main Installation To Affect Milton

Media contact:
Lisa Maggart
678-242-2492 O
404-414-3301 C

Project will bring loss of trees on Providence Road at Freemanville Road

MILTON, Ga., January 15, 2008 - A current Fulton County project to install a 24-inch water main on Providence Road at Freemanville Road will cause the loss of approximately 20 to 30 trees in the right of way at the site, despite efforts by the City of Milton to preserve the trees.

The installation, which begins near Summit Hill Elementary School and will progress west on Providence Road, will place a large water transmission line that will deliver water from a Fulton County pumping station to the storage tank at Pritchard Mountain. City officials have been working with representatives from Fulton County over the past several days to determine if any means exists to save the trees, and have exhausted all avenues.

"What makes this situation even more unfortunate is that the trees were planted in the right-of-way when this area was originally developed," said Chris Lagerbloom, interim City Manager. "This area is typically reserved by municipalities for utility purposes, which means that the trees were potentially doomed from the start."

As part of their efforts, Milton officials investigated the possibility of having the transmission lines be laid as close as possible to the trees without removing the trees or risking certain death of the trees due to damage of the root system. This option proved to be logistically impossible. The City also reached out to private citizens with an offer to let them move the trees to another location, but this option also fell through.

"We are highly disappointed that, despite our best efforts, we were not able to save these trees," said Mayor Joe Lockwood. "We place a priority on preserving our City's natural beauty and green space, but this is one of those challenges that we just couldn't win."

Vultures, the feathery kind, circle Milton City Hall

By DOUG NURSE The Atlanta Journal-Constitution /

A bird known for picking at carcasses has shown up this month at Milton City Hall. Vultures have suddenly appeared atop the center of government in a community known for political brawls and campaign bloodbaths.

Two to four of the feathery scavengers were sighted last week lurking outside the community development office, the city clerk's office and the city manager's office.

Mayor Joe Lockwood said not to worry, it's not an omen . . . he hopes."I'm not taking it that way," he said. "Hopefully, they're not going to find anything, and they'll move on."
The buzzards appeared at City Hall just in time for the swearing in of two new city council members. Maybe they were drawn by the political passing of the two incumbents or the Monday start of the legislative session.

"It opens up a plethora of theories and hypotheses — all of which could be plausible," said City Councilman Bill Lusk.The birds sometimes have peered into the windows of City Hall, in one case even tapping on the glass. Office workers think they might be attacking their reflections in the glass. "I think it's Morse code," Lusk said. "I think there's a message they're trying to send. Animals often foretell changes in the weather and natural occurrences, such as storms and earthquakes."

A staff member with a bird book tentatively identified the avian visitors as black vultures.
According to the Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Birds, black vultures are rather aggressive and prey on weak, sick and unprotected young birds and mammals.
Another theory is that they're juveniles who have just been kicked out of the nest.
Acting City Manager Chris Lagerbloom said if the buzzards are anticipating the demise of the city of Milton or any of its workers, they're out of luck.
"The health of the city is good," he said. "And we're not planning any staff changes. I don't think they're going to find anything they need to clean up."

Fulton Pushes Billboards In Northside Cities

By DOUG NURSE The Atlanta Journal-Constitution /

Fulton County is trying to block efforts by several northside cities from interfering with a proposed settlement between the county and the billboard industry.
Fulton County last week notified Sandy Springs it plans to challenge the city's efforts to derail the settlement, which must be approved by the courts. Similar notifications are expected at Johns Creek, Alpharetta and Milton, because all four cities filed motions to intervene in the proposed agreement.

"The board of commissioners voted to resolve the issue with the settlement, and we see the intervention by the cities as means to put the kibosh on the settlement," said County Senior Attorney Steven Rosenberg. "They [the cities] have known about the lawsuits for some time and they didn't choose to do something until the 11th hour."

"We didn't have to intervene until they threw us under the bus," said Milton City Attorney Mark Scott. "Until they passed the resolution we believed in good faith that they were looking out for the best interests of the citizens of north Fulton."

The cities want to challenge the deal because it could result in scores of new billboards being erected within their boundaries. The settlement would allow 31 billboards in Johns Creek, 15 in Milton, 23 in Sandy Springs, three in Alpharetta and three in south Fulton. Johns Creek currently has one billboard, Milton none.
"For Sandy Springs, it would mean one billboard after another along Roswell Road, the main artery in town, beginning at the Sandy Springs city limit to the [Chattahoochee] river," said Sandy Springs City Attorney Wendell Willard. "That is not what the city fathers and mothers want to see happen."

Several companies have filed lawsuits against Fulton County, saying that over the past several years it unjustly refused them new billboards. The state Supreme Court has ruled unconstitutional Fulton County's sign ordinance, which served as the basis for the denials. The companies now say the county owes them millions of dollars in lost revenue. One estimate claimed the county would owe $6.6 million, but a county commissioner estimated it could go two or three times higher.

If the courts allow the cities a place in the proceedings, and if the cities succeed in knocking out the agreement, Fulton County could be back on the hook for the lost revenue.
The Fulton County Commission, on Dec. 5, signed off on the settlement negotiated with the billboard companies in which the county would reverse its denials and backdate the permits to the time of application. The applications and denials pre-date the incorporation of Sandy Springs, Johns Creek and Milton, but many of the proposed billboard sites are in the new cities' boundaries.

City leaders reacted with outrage and immediately filed motions to challenge the county's settlement agreements. They say the county can't backdate permits and they can't approve permits in another jurisdiction.

County Commissioner Tom Lowe, who represents Sandy Springs, said after the vote that county lawyers warned that the billboard companies would probably win the lawsuit.
"We had what we felt was a bad hand to play with," Lowe said. "It wasn't a winnable situation and it could cost a lot of money."

Commissioner Lynne Riley, who represents Johns Creek, Alpharetta and Milton, was fuming after the vote."I am very, very upset," she said. "The County Commission supported something that they don't have full confidence is even legal. There was no concern for the well-being of the community. I expect they [city residents] will be extremely disappointed that the County Commission who also represents them have abandoned them."

Protect Milton Video

The folks over at Protect Milton have found a great video on Youtube. It focuses on how precious water is to us. To see the video for yourself, click here->

Monday, January 14, 2008

Protect Milton Website Goes Live.

Below is the link for the new Official "Protect Milton" Website. Link to this site for continuing updates on the Freemanville Highschool and Middle Schools planned by the BOE on this 116 acre parcel.

The next update will be coming in February sometime.

Lisa Cauley

Sunday, January 13, 2008

REMINDER: Crabapple Crossroads Community Plan Meeting Tonight!!!

Community Development contact:
Mike Tuller 678-242-2538
Media contact:Lisa Maggart 678-242-2492 O 404-414-3301 C

Scheduled for January 14 at City Hall
Note: Date and Location Change

The City of Milton will hold its second meeting to discuss updating the Crabapple Crossroads Community Plan on Monday, January 14. The meeting, which will be held at City Hall at 13000 Deerfield Parkway in Milton, will run from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. The Public is invited to attend.Please note this is a change from the previously scheduled meeting date and location.The January 14th meeting is intended to provide an opportunity for citizens to meet with the consultants preparing the City of Milton's Comprehensive Plan and to help consider potential recommendations regarding the City's review of development requests within the area affected by the Crabapple Crossroads Community Plan during the period when the Comprehensive Plan is being prepared.If you would like to further orient yourself to the Crabapple Crossroads Plan as adopted by Fulton County and the City of Milton, visit the City of Milton's website at go to the "Comprehensive Plan" section.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Milton Issues Temporary Lift Of Outdoor Burn Ban

Lisa Maggart
678-242-2492 O 404-414-3301 C

Fire Marshall contact:
Captain Chad McGiboney 678-242-2570
January 11, 2008 --

The City of Milton has issued a temporary lift of its city-wide outdoor burn ban that went into effect in October 2007. The lift, issued by Milton Fire Marshall Chad McGiboney, is effective immediately, and allows residents to conduct outdoor burning under specific guidelines. The City's ban on outdoor watering is still in effect, and is not included in this temporary lift.

"Recent rains have brought some relief to the dry conditions in our area, prompting us to give temporary relief to our citizens by lifting the burn ban," said McGiboney. "If the current conditions change, however, the burn ban may need to be reinstated." McGiboney adds, "We encourage residents to use extreme caution and to follow the City's guidelines when conducting outdoor burning."

Residents are reminded that the outdoor watering ban, including the watering of lawns, is still in effect. Despite the recent rainfall, Georgia's drought conditions still continue. The City urges residents to continue implementing water conservation measures and to curb non-essential water use.

Citizens who conduct outdoor burning must strictly adhere to the following guidelines when conducting outdoor burning:

The burn pile shall be constantly attended and shall have a water source that will reach the burn pile (such as a garden hose, fire extinguisher or both).
Burning shall be during daylight hours only, must be completely extinguished before dusk.
Burning shall be of natural fallen vegetation, such as limbs, leaves, twigs, etc. from your own property. Do not burn any building materials, furniture, plastic, clothing, any rubber or tires, household garbage, boxes, etc.
The burning pile shall be at least 50 feet from any structure and 50 feet from all property lines.
Burn pile(s) shall be small piles; maximum size is 3 feet by 3 feet.
A competent adult must be present at all times during burning.
No burning will be allowed on windy days (10mph or higher) or on days when atmospheric conditions (cloudy, overcast or raining) would cause the smoke to remain low to the ground. Burn only on clear days with no clouds.
Fires shall not be started by petroleum based products.
Please note that the Fire Marshal and the personnel assigned to the Milton Department of Public Safety shall have the authority to extinguish any open burning which is in violation of the above mentioned guidelines, or the fire imposes an immediate threat to life and property, or they deem the burning offensive to others or it poses a health risk to people in the area.

The Fire Marshal would also like to remind residents of Milton that from May 1 - September 30, every year, there is a complete burn ban in effect.

If you have any additional questions, or wish to get information on bonfires, please contact the Fire Marshal at (678)242-2570.

Letter To The Editor.

Artist Rendering of the New Alpharetta Methodist Christian Academy.

NOTE: Mr. Jones letter to the editor is in response to a recent
piece in "The Milton Observer";'s monthly newsletter.
That story relayed the proposal of Alpharetta Methodist Christian
Academy (AMCA) building a new location on Hopewell Road. Please
see the artist' picture above. As always,
respects all citizens opinions and ecourages open discussion.

Wow. This new rendering depicts a building triple the size of the one the AMCA had on their website last year. This building will literally be built in my backyard.

I am strongly opposed to the building of a school at this location for the simple reason there is no other commercial development to speak of along the entire length of Hopewell Road in Milton (the exceptions being small equestrian and daycare facilities, many of which are run by the residents of the property). Having this building here will vastly change the nature of the area around this school, and will virtually fry the Bethany Bend/Hopewell Road/Bethany Way intersection, which is already heavily overloaded weekday mornings and evenings.

The brand new Kings Ridge school a mile away from this location is already using trailers for classes (this is a private school that can control and manage its enrollment), so the idea of AMCA keeping their enrollment to under 400 students as they state is probably slim, meaning there will likely be trailers at this location at some point should the school be built here.

Also, I am sure there will be a negative impact on residential property areas around this school if it's built. This will likely offset the benefit to the City of any taxes the school will generate.

I have written the Milton City Council about my opposition to this school and I wrote a letter to the Milton Herald which was published in early December 2007. I am planning to start organizing other residents of the area to voice their opposition to a school being allowed at this location, and I am hopeful that the majority of City Council members will share my views on this matter.

I am not against this school - I am against a school at this location.

- Greg Jones; Milton

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Newly Elected Officials Being Sworn In Tonight.

Council Elect Burt Hewitt of District 4 and Alan Tart of District 6 will be sworn in this evening at City hall; Meeting time is 7pm. Also being sworn in is District 2 Council Person Julie Zahner Bailey; re-elected for a second term. To find out more about tonight's agenda; click here->

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

January Poll Up.

A new poll has been added in our AM news section. This months poll asks:

Do You Believe The 45 MPH Speed Limits In Our Open Road Neighborhoods are Being Enforced On A Regular Basis?

Roswell Hires Former Milton Administrator Aaron Bovos

by Bob Pepalis /

Aaron Bovos found his way back to a government position in North Fulton, accepting the deputy city administrator's post for Roswell.In his new position, he will oversee Roswell's Administration Department and sit on the city's management team.

Bovos most recently worked as budget director for Gwinnett County. That position followed his departure from Milton, where he served as city manager until August 2007. Prior to that, he also helped with the startup of the city of Sandy Springs.Before taking a position with Sandy Springs, he worked for Alpharetta for six years as its Finance director, where his efforts led to a AAA bond rating for the city.

City Administrator Kay Love welcomed Bovos to her team."I am excited about Aaron joining the City of Roswell. He is a great addition to the management team and I look forward to working with him," she said. Bovos said he is excited to work with Love, the mayor, council and city staff.."It's an honor to serve Roswell in this capacity and a great way to start the new year," he said.

Bovos resigned from his position in Milton following a filing error that has cost the city $850,000 in insurance premium tax revenue. Bovos is a certified government finance manager and certified treasury professional. He graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor's degree in finance from Frederick Taylor University.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Second Crabapple Crossroads Community Plan Update Meeting

Community Development contact:
Mike Tuller
678-242-2538 O

Media contact:
Lisa Maggart
678-242-2492 O 404-414-3301 C

Scheduled for January 14 at City Hall

Note: Date and Location Change

MILTON, Ga., January 4, 2007 --The City of Milton will hold its second meeting to discuss updating the Crabapple Crossroads Community Plan on Monday, January 14. The meeting, which will be held at City Hall at 13000 Deerfield Parkway in Milton, will run from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. The Public is invited to attend.

Please note this is a change from the previously scheduled meeting date and location.

The January 14th meeting is intended to provide an opportunity for citizens to meet with the consultants preparing the City of Milton's Comprehensive Plan and to help consider potential recommendations regarding the City's review of development requests within the area affected by the Crabapple Crossroads Community Plan during the period when the Comprehensive Plan is being prepared.

If you would like to further orient yourself to the Crabapple Crossroads Plan as adopted by Fulton County and the City of Milton, visit the City of Milton's website at go to the "Comprehensive Plan" section.

Additional Background:

In March 2004, the Fulton County Board of Commissioners adopted an amendment to the County's zoning resolution to create the Crabapple Crossroads Overlay within the Northwest Fulton Overlay District to delineate approximately 511 acres containing the historic mixed-use center of Crabapple and the land surrounding it, and to establish standards for the Crabapple Crossroads Overlay area. The Northwest Fulton Overlay Design Review Board was given the responsibility for reviewing development plans and making recommendations regarding the approval of a Land Disturbance Permit, Building Permit, Sign Permit, or Primary Variance in the Overlay area. The Commission adopted the Crabapple Crossroads Plan of June 4, 2003 as the basis for regulating development in such a way that it would be consistent with Crabapple's historic and rural village character, preserve 20% of the area as open space, and create an interconnected transportation network to implement a pedestrian-oriented core with surrounding residential uses.

Since the adoption of the Overlay District, the Crabapple Crossroads Community has seen significant changes, including the incorporation of the City of Milton, the construction of the new Milton High School, and substantial development in the southwest quadrant of the community. To the northwest, a large expanse of property has been cleared, followed by the construction of roads and infrastructure for a mixture of commercial, office and residential land uses. South of the schools, property owners are poised to develop the remaining large tracts. How can the Overlay District manage growth effectively to preserve the intent of the Community Plan?

The City of Milton has inherited the Crabapple Crossroads Overlay District and the Overlay Design Review Board, and is committed to addressing these issues by updating the Community Plan as part of the City's Comprehensive Plan process. Due to the immediate interest in the Crabapple Crossroads Community Plan, an interim update of the Community Plan is being prepared during the initial stage of the Comprehensive Plan process to provide guidelines for the City of Milton to make decisions until the full comprehensive plan is completed in June 2008.

The Marietta office of BRPH, Inc., a full service planning and design firm, is providing services to update both plans.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Broadcaster Aubrey Morris Ponders N. Fulton's Future


In the 20 years since WSB radio news icon and Georgia Association of Broadcasters Hall of Famer Aubrey Morris officially turned off his microphone, he has been anything but quiet.
Morris, 85, has channeled his energy and passion into historic preservation and environmental activism, primarily in north Fulton County.
Morris and his wife, Tera, live in a restored 1880s-era home built by his great-grandfather, Reubin Perkins. The couple moved the house to Milton, from the original 120-acre homestead that is now the developed Mansell Road area.
Morris was one of five influential north Fulton residents who led the 10-year fight against the county's proposed 500-acre landfill, known as Site 13. The project was halted by the Legislature in the late 1980s, an action that may have opened the door to development in north Fulton. The Crooked Creek golf community now sits on the Francis Road land.
In August, Morris called on a large network of Fulton residents, environmentalists and preservationists to launch an effort to save the 1830s Wagon Stop House, a place for travelers in the 19th century. It is to be preserved as part of a new Sandy Springs subdivision at Johnson Ferry and Glenridge Drive.
Morris is an occasional columnist for the Alpharetta-Roswell Review and News and is writing a book about his ancestors. "The Jett Journal: Life on the Wild Side" will chronicle the lives of other Morris family members who settled on what is now Jett's Ferry Road in Atlanta. The "river rats" in Morris' family, he says, lived a life of hunting, fishing and trapping on the Chattahoochee River.
Recently, Morris sat down to talk about the changes in north Fulton, its population, government and the future of growth in the area.

Q: Are you pleased with the creation of the new north Fulton cities, such as Sandy Springs, Johns Creek and Milton?

A: Milton is good. I'm all for it. It's a wonderful manifestation of what democracy is all about. And it will lead to increased [historic] preservation. People came from other parts of the country and were tired of this area having been a rathole, for the dumping of tax dollars into Fulton County. That sounds anti-Atlanta. I don't mean it to be, I'm pro-Atlanta.

They're discussing their own affairs. They're practicing democracy. We had an election recently where we saw the ugly, dirty, business of politics, which is what governance is. We saw it come out in its full glory, and I like that, where people were attacking people. Let the chips fall where they may.

Q: Do you think more cities will be created in the northern area?

A: They are coming whether we need them or not. They will have to incorporate to survive. We can't leave local survival in the hands of government bureaucrats 20 miles away. They need to be in reach. People have decided they want to run their own affairs.

Q: Do you favor the re-creation of Milton County from what is now north Fulton?

A: Milton County should be re-created to regain a modicum of control of government. It's [now] too big, too cumbersome, too ungovernable. But I do favor regional planning for things such as water and transportation.

Q: What projects do you expect to work on in the new year?

A: I will continue to work on the book. And try to help bring about public awareness and acceptance of the individual citizen's responsibility for preserving our water and our other precious natural resources.

To preserve water, we've got to preserve trees. We've got to preserve wetlands. So I'm watching very carefully as these new cities come along, and the hunger for land by the developers continues. I'm watching to see the encroachment on wetlands. Watch that issue.
The whole future of the northern tier lies in our water supply and protecting our trees.
This has got to become an "in topic." I tell my children and grandchildren they must make it their in topic.

Editor's note: Tammy Lloyd Clabby is a veteran Atlanta journalist. She worked at WSB radio in the 1970s as a colleague of Aubrey Morris.