Milton council moves forward with Scarlet Oaks annexation application

Proposed development asks for special development district designation
November 14, 2023

By a 5-2 vote, Milton Town Council is moving forward with an annexation application for a 50-acre parcel across from Mariner Middle School that would be developed as a 163-unit residential community known as Scarlet Oaks.

A final decision on whether to accept the annexation with the requested R-1 residential zoning with a large-parcel development overlay will be made at council’s Monday, Dec. 4 meeting.

Council accepted the annexation petition for Scarlet Oaks, filed under property owner The Company Store LLC, after a Nov. 6 public hearing, but all on council were not convinced. Prior to council’s vote, the question came up of whether members of council should subject approval of the annexation to a public referendum. Town code allows for any annexation petition to go to referendum, but it gives two paths to getting there: council scheduling a referendum, or, should council approve annexation, a citizens’ petition within 30 days. If 10% of Milton’s registered voters sign the petition, a referendum would be scheduled within 45 days of it being received by the town manager. 

Councilman Scotty Edler moved for council to schedule the referendum, with Councilwoman Lee Revis-Plank seconding. The motion passed 5-2. Council then moved to vote on approving the annexation petition. It passed 5-2 with Edler and Councilwoman Randi Meredith voting no. Mayor John Collier and council members Meredith, Fred Harvey, Tom Arkinson and Larry Savage all said any referendum should originate with the citizens. 

Tim Willard, attorney for the developer, said his client intends to pursue a special development district, not unlike the one council just approved for the Granary at Draper Farm development. 

This is a relatively new wrinkle, as neither The Company Store nor developer Ribera Development had mentioned doing that until the Nov. 6 meeting. Willard said the developer cannot pursue a special development district until the property is annexed, but added that he doesn’t think a district for Scarlet Oaks will be as big as the Granary. 

The proposed development would comprise single-family attached and detached homes, and also have a clubhouse and recreation area with walking paths through the development. Buffers are planned along Harbeson Road and Shingle Point Road. The large-parcel development overlay allows for flexibility in terms of home design, setbacks, pedestrian access and potential light commercial uses, but no commercial uses are proposed. 

If residents do not submit a petition for a referendum, council can vote to approve the annexation in December and move the process to the planning and zoning commission to begin site-plan review. 

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