Developers will have to complete streets within five years of beginning a project under an amended ordinance by Milton Town Council.
Town officials unanimously passed the measure April 1. It applies to all future developments and communities still under construction. Under the amended ordinance, once 80 percent of a subdivision or phase is sold or built upon, streets must be paved. If the 80 percent threshold is not reached within five years of final approval, roads must still be completed.
The town will not take ownership or maintain roads in a community until they are completed and dedicated.
Milton has long had complaints over the completion of streets and sidewalks, particularly in Shipbuilders Village and Cannery Village. Under construction since 2004, Cannery Village streets remain unfinished; residents often complain to town officials about the safety and condition of the roadways.
“If the residents of Cannery go one more year, we will be going on the 10-year mark with the roads getting worse year after year,” said resident Gail Slaughter prior to council's vote. “As residents of Milton and taxpayers, we expect no less from our new town council than to stand by its taxpayers and do the right thing.”
Town code now requires developers to post a performance bond in the amount of 125 percent of the estimated cost to complete a number of improvements, including streets. Cannery Village developer Chestnut Properties did not complete the required work, but the community was approved before the requirement was put into effect, so there is no bond money to draw upon. Under the new ordinance, in cases where a developer has posted a guarantee, the town may use those funds to complete required work.
By passing the amendment to the subdivision ordinance, council sets a timeline for future developers, but also seeks to encourage developers such as Chestnut Properties to complete work in a timely fashion.
“I think it's a great planning tool for other developments, but we have one that is really in the forefront right now,” said Mayor Marion Jones. “I want to make sure it captures their needs right now.”
Councilman Mike Coté, a Cannery resident, said the amendment is not creating a new requirement for developers, rather it is further clarifying when the work must be complete.
“We're only putting a time frame on something that is a responsibility anyway,” he said. “This needs to be done before the roads are turned over to town. Now the developer and the citizens know when that's going to occur.”