Rezoning . . . Coming to a Parcel Near You (Republished from June 2016)

I am re-publishing a post from June 2016.  This post re-publishes a letter by Laura Bentley to The Milton Herald.  This letter emphasizes an important outcome of poor zoning decisions in Milton:  they can quickly metastasize across Milton.  The rapid replication of poor zoning choices is why citizens need to engage on issues that might seem faraway (and therefore irrelevant).  If citizens engage on issues only when a zoning decision is on their doorstep (i.e., it involves a neighboring property), then they are probably too late to do anything about the issue.  Once legal precedent is set, the die is cast.

Advocating For Citizen Engagement,



Following is an excellent letter from Laura Bentley about rezonings in Milton.  It was published in the Milton Herald.  Unfortunately, the rezoning of the property across from Cambridge High School is Exhibit A for Reckless Rezoning in Milton.  In justifying his vote, one Council member bragged that he had saved 50% of the property’s green space.  Really? Unfortunately, a few misguided local “environmentalists” seem to think this development is a good compromise.  Really?

Click the following link to go to the Milton Herald article, or read below.   Rezoning . . . Coming to a Parcel Near You

June 20th is an important day for our city. The controversial Ebenezer rezoning will again come forward for City Council review. It appears that a majority of Council supports smaller lot sizes, experimental community septic and a roll of the dice with regard to precedence. This was evidenced by their 4 to 2 approval on April 25th.

Thankfully, Mayor Lockwood exercised his veto authority after overwhelming community outrage and pending legal action resulting from significant procedural errors. The hearing lasted 6 ½ hours, during which a majority of Council Members negotiated with BrightWater homes to secure approval. One Council Member even suggested omitting much of the green space to which the developer readily agreed, contradicting his professed conservation goals. Even more troubling, a majority of our City Council approved conditions submitted by the developer that had not been reviewed by Council, Staff or the City Attorney. Blind acceptance of the developer’s conditions left citizens stunned and unprotected.

Our City Attorney assures us that precedent will not be set with this rezoning, yet the City Council in Roswell recently rejected a rezoning due to the probable “domino effect.” Furthermore, the Milton City Attorney’s explanation of precedent is inconsistent with a broader interpretation commonly used by attorneys for developers.

So what does Milton-style rezoning look like? Look no further than the parcel across from Cambridge High School. This parcel was originally zoned AG-1 and would have only allowed 8 homes on 9 acres. In December of 2013, the parcel was rezoned to a Neighborhood Unit Plan, allowing for a density of 27 homes. During rezoning negotiations, the narrow strip of trees along Cogburn Road was touted as “green space” in exchange for density that required clear cutting of all trees on the remaining parcel.

Our Planning Commission and City Staff have been hard at work to enhance our AG-1 standards to insure that it provides the flexibility to accommodate working farms while offering protection should the land become an AG-1 neighborhood. Our tree ordinance will soon be made more robust to conserve even more green space on AG-1 parcels. Rezoning to allow the clustering of homes on ¼ acre lots utilizing community septic under the guise of “conservation” leaves Milton’s treasured AG-1 land vulnerable to ongoing rezonings. If changing Milton’s recipe for uniqueness concerns you, I encourage you to come voice your opinion June 20, 6:00 at City Hall.

Laura Bentley – Milton