On June 2, Milton City Council approved a vision plan for the northern corridor of Highway 9, and the city is in the beginning steps of carrying it into action.
“We are now moving forward in terms of implementing this plan,” said Kathy Field, community development director. “The tool we use to implement it is a zoning overlay, because zoning is regulatory and that will allow us to actually implement the intent of the plan. … We are in the process of hiring a consultant who will write for us a zoning overlay for this area.”
She said the consultant will create a form-based code, which is the type of zoning overlay used in Crabapple and along Deerfield Parkway.
“[Form-based code] really speaks more to the form of the buildings as opposed to specific uses,” Field said. “It allows for mixed uses. For instance, it doesn’t say that this area shall be an office park or this area shall be townhomes. It allows for a mix of uses, but it controls the form and the location of the building on the site.”
The vision plan reflects the concerns and desires of residents and business owners.
“People felt like they wanted to see somewhat of the neighborhood, mixed-use, walkable area along Highway 9 there, slightly different from the south section,” said Michele McIntosh-Ross, city planner.
The zoning will allow for mixed-use development but on a smaller scale than the southern corridor of Highway 9 where there are shopping plazas with major stores like Publix, Target and Kohl’s, she said.
“That sort of development is not what the residents want to see in the north portion of Highway 9,” McIntosh-Ross said. “So big box [stores] would be excluded, and we’d concentrate on more of the mixed-use, lower-scale residential, office and retail [development] and walkability.”
City officials spent about 10 months gathering input from the public throughout a series of meetings. Special groups were formed to create plans for nine parcels of land along Bethany Bend and four parcels of land along Highway 9 at Five Acres Road.
“In those areas we realized that we needed to do more intense work with the stakeholders of the two areas,” Field said. “Based on the agreement that we came up with — with those stakeholders — we incorporated that specific agreement, including all the exact language of that agreement and made it part of this plan as well.”
The Bethany Bend special treatment area calls for plans for 27 single-family homes. For the Five Acres Road special treatment area, the consensus was light commercial, office and retail buildings designed to fit the character of the Five Acres Estates subdivision would be appropriate.