MILTON, Ga.— The Milton City Council has endorsed a blueprint for future development within the Crabapple District, one of the city’s most valued downtown areas.
By unanimous vote, city leaders approved the designer TSW’s Downtown Crabapple Placemaking Plan May 15 after an eight-month review process. The plan, first proposed last September, calls for walking trails, parks and outlines potential residential, commercial and mixed-use development.
Before the final plan was adopted, the city held two public information meetings and a town hall meeting in April, to gather resident input.
Mayor Joe Lockwood stressed that the plan is not a final rendering of future development in Downtown Crabapple but provides a professional “blueprint” for the city.
He said he would like Downtown Crabapple to be a destination and provide a live, work and play district for residents.
Lockwood expects tweaks to the plan along the way, especially where residents’ properties may become affected.
“This is a look from professional planners,” Lockwood said. “They are not looking at each individual property owner, they are giving suggestions that make the best sense overall. It doesn’t mean that residents will have to sell their land or develop it a certain way. It’s just an overall suggestion plan.”
The mayor said residents expressed a desire for interconnectivity, trails, walking paths and sidewalks, and TSW addressed those requests.
“There are going to be some property owners that don’t want that going in front of or beside their house, so over time that will have to be tweaked so that we can hopefully address as many concerns as possible,” Lockwood said.
Any proposed development would be vetted through city staff, citizens and elected officials once the city moves forward with the plan.
Lockwood said some councilmembers had concerns with the plan, but those concerns were addressed before the plan’s approval. He said he liked the proposed parks, walking trails and their interconnectivity within the plan.
The city has begun the initial stages of implementing the plan said Kathy Field, Community Development director, and the order of implementation within the plan has changed from the City Council’s suggestions.
City staff will look at streetscape enhancements, parks and trails, a potential parking deck before reviewing potential valet parking solutions in Downtown Crabapple.
GDOT is conducting a traffic survey in the area for the feasibility of mid-block crosswalks in Downtown Crabapple and Milton’s public works department is getting ready to make a bid on a Charlotte Drive extension, said Field.
The Charlotte Drive extension would bring the road beyond its intersection with Mayfield Road further north before cutting left into the proposed roundabout along Birmingham Highway near Milton High.
“That will open that whole block up so it is a very important piece,” she said. She said there is funding for the extension through TSPLOST.
Field said the city is also looking at the proposed walking trails, and those will be reviewed with public input and consideration.