Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Possible Changes To Milton's Longstanding No Sewer Policy


Monday, August 4, 2008 4pm at City Hall
July 30, 2008

The Milton City Council is making decisions that expand sewer beyond the current policy, and is likely to make decisions quickly that could change the sewer policy and expand sewer in Milton. Density can only be practically accomplished where there is sewer, and a change in policy would almost surely increase density in Milton. Over 87% of Milton survey respondents favored no "no sewer" in Milton. This could be the single most important policy affecting what Milton will become, and any change in policy - large or small, should only be made with great inspection and citizen involvement.There is momentum to make "spot" sewer expansion decisions quickly, which would set legal precedent and effectively create new policy. Sewer expansion occurs on an "edge-out" basis. When additional properties are allowed to connect to sewer, the newly adjacent property owners expect to be allowed sewer, and this is typically what happens. Any Milton sewer policy should only be crafted with intense public involvement and scrutiny. Allowances should be clearly defined, and excluded areas should also be clearly defined. There should be no room for exceptions.BackgroundDuring the July 14th Special Called Meeting the Mayor and City Council discussed and voted on issues with pending sewer permit limitations. A map was presented that indicated sewer-impacted projects within the City, and the Council voted to allow permitting of all projects marked as "yellow dot" projects. A follow up to that meeting is scheduled for August 4, when the Council will continue discussions related to sewer policies. There are three critical pieces to the sewer debate that will be reviewed,
Projects requesting sewer that are not part of the approved IGA (inter-basin transfer agreement put into place by Fulton County in 1995)

Proposed revised overall sewer policy

The policy under discussion is the IGA that has been in effect since 1995. It was reaffirmed in 2006. Fulton County's IGA gives constitutional authority to allow sewer to those in the fifteen named land lots. The No Interbasin transfer policy is critical to this area and helps to preserve the low-density, rural character of Milton. Interbasin transfers are environmentally unhealthy and contrary to the GA Comprehensive State-wide Water Management Plan. "These transfers may have adverse impacts on water resources in the receiving and donor basins and on opportunities for reasonable water use in the donor basin." page 26.

Recently, Milton attorneys found that the maps did not match the requests for sewer. A new proposed sewer map was created. The new map appears to include 15 -30 additional land lots that were not originally under consideration for sewer and are not included in the No Interbasin transfer policy.

Click here for map=>

These affected land lots are in the Crabapple Area, Freemanville Road, near Milton High School, Bethany Road and Mayfield as well as Hopewell and Cogburn Roads. Allowing sewer into the areas not previously approved goes against the specific mandate of the community and what our elected officials promised during the recent election. Sewer would bring sprawl and traffic congestion and change the character of this entire region forever. We need a sewer policy that embraces the vision and goal of Milton, a unique policy. The survey results demonstrate that over 86% of the respondents believe the Vision Statement: "Milton is a distinctive community embracing small-town life and heritage while preserving and enhancing our rural character."

The Alliance believes the Milton City Council, Mayor and staff need to hear loud and clear that we DO NOT support the additional land lots proposed in the new sewer area map, or exceptions to the no Interbasin transfer ordinance. We do need to communicate what has been shown in the Citizens' survey that no expansion of sewer is permissible. The community has submitted their opinions, 87% of respondents agree that "Milton should continue to rely on private septic systems to ensure low density development and maintain one acre or larger lots."Being informed and taking action on the information will help us let our elected officials know that Milton will not be overrun by unnecessary development. Before any decisions can be made there needs to be a full review of plans and notification to land owners of possible change.Milton has effectively protected the low-density rural charm and the vision should not be changed. Key ways for us to share information are through BHA email releases, neighbor-to-neighbor and friend-to-friend. The City Council wants you to communicate and attend meetings.You can help by emailing and calling Milton City Council and Mayor. Share your ideas and concerns with them. Attend the City Council Work Session on Monday, August 4 at 4pm and plan to speak up. We must tell our City officials why they should NOT support expansion of the current sewer policy nor completely rewriting the policy. Please do not wait - communicate today to our local City government.

Voice your opinions on this and other important issues to the Mayor, City Council and Staff.


Anonymous said...

Of the 86 or 87 percent of the respondents, what percentage is that of the population of the city.
Before someone says, "specific mandate of the community." I think that would be a good fact to know/print.
Thank you for your help understanding this issue.

Anonymous said...

Could it be the lady across the street from the proposed school site is the author of this article.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Well, I just took a look at the BH Alliance website, and find that it is not even up to date. Last time I checked, the Milton City Council was still working on its sewer policy. I think the reference to no sewer policy should be no sewer agenda.