Milton Town Council will debate and possibly vote on a proposed annexation of 450 acres that would be built into a 1,350-unit development to be known as The Granary at Draper Farm.
Council will resume discussion of the annexation at its meeting set for 6:30 p.m., Monday, March 7, at Milton library. A public hearing on the proposed annexation was held by council in February, but the application was tabled to allow members time to reflect on the amount of public comment heard at that meeting.
Developer Convergence Communities has proposed developing the parcel, zoned R-2 residential with a large parcel development overlay, over a 20-year span.
Convergence founder Colby Cox has said 25 percent of the property would be left undeveloped as open space or woodlands, with 55 acres dedicated to the town for park space, which would include an athletic field. The Granary would also include a 3-mile walking trail connecting with the existing Rails to Trails through an underpass under Sand Hill Road, along with a vegetative buffer between the development and nearby Diamond Pond.
Cox has described the architecture of the homes as modern farmhouses, with the intention for the development to mimic the look of the existing town. The Granary will also have some commercial aspects, including an amphitheater, space for a farmers market, a working granary and what he called a brewery incubator, a small working brewery that would allow homebrewers to produce and package beer on a larger scale. The only parts of the development that will remain private are the clubhouses and fitness centers.
The Granary project has already been reviewed by the town’s Special Review Committee, which recommended approving the annexation, with preliminary concept plans reviewed by the Planning and Zoning Commission, which also approved of the idea.
Much of the public dialogue surrounding the annexation and development has come from homeowners on neighboring Bangor Lane regarding how the development will affect them. Cox has said there are no intentions to connect Bangor Lane to the Granary, unless Bangor Lane homeowners want it. He has also said there is no intention to allow boat or personal watercraft traffic on Diamond Pond.
Should the land be annexed, Convergence plans to pursue a designation as a special development district, a mechanism by which residents of the Granary would pay a levy on top of their property tax that will go toward paying for public infrastructure – such as police personnel, town employees and equipment – needed to serve the development. The town has estimated that it will need to hire six people each in the public works and police departments over the development time frame, along with vehicles. The town’s projections have shown that tax revenue benefits from annexing the parcel outweigh expenses over the 20-year development period. Under a special development district, the town would issue bonds, with the proceeds covering those costs. The town would then be paid back through the additional tax. This does not include infrastructure such as roads or water and sewer hookups, which are the direct responsibility of the developer.
Cox has said money from the tax, which would eventually expire and would be around $1,500 to $2,000 annually, could help fund improvements such as additional sidewalks or a water tower on the Granary site.
Scarlet Oaks time extension on agenda
Besides the Granary, the other ongoing annexation project in Milton has received a request by the Special Review Committee for a time extension.
The committee is asking for more time to receive information about the proposed annexation of 50 acres on Harbeson Road that would be built into a 163-unit development known as Scarlet Oaks. The committee is time limited by code to turn in a report to Milton Town Council on whether to recommend the annexation, but it needs extra time to allow for developer The Country Store LLC to get reviewed by the state’s Preliminary Land Use Service, and to present concept plans to Milton planning and zoning.
In addition to the two annexations, the March 7 council agenda is quite busy, with a presentation from Milton Garden Club on its Hope In Bloom initiative, public comment on a plan to transition the town’s pedestrian facilities to be compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, and acceptance of nominations for the Citizen of the Year and Volunteer of the Year awards.
Council will hear a request from Fernmoor Homes to approve a revised plat plan for Phase 1 of Heritage Creek, and a street closure request for Strawberry Alley by Milton Arts Guild for its annual Spring Fling event, to be held from Friday, April 29 to Sunday, May 1.
Resolutions to be debated and possibly approved include one to amend the town’s fee schedule to set the rates for administrative appeals – a $400 deposit and $1,000 to be held in escrow – and to request an advisory report from the streets, sidewalks and parks committee on speed limits within town. That committee is also seeking a 30-day extension to finish its list of priority items adapted from a report by the traffic calming ad hoc committee.
Finally, council will discuss an ordinance amending the town’s building construction code.
To watch the meeting virtually, visit join.freeconferencecall.com/tquass or to listen by phone, call 425-436-6360 and enter passcode 500943.