The Milton Planning and Zoning Commission began its state-mandated five-year review of the town’s comprehensive development plan June 20, with a discussion on what direction the review will take.
The first bit of the discussion was on whether the commission needs to hold public hearings on the review. As this is a review, not a rewriting of the plan, which would happen around 2028, the commission is not obligated to hold public hearings. The general consensus among the commissioners is that they will not hold hearings, since town council will likely conduct its own. Also, in the end, council will be the body putting the final stamp on the approval.
“My feeling is they are in the best position to hold a public hearing,” Commissioner George Cardwell said.
Besides efficiency, another reason the commission does not wish to hold public hearings is because many changes in the plan are minor. The items being considered are updates to the implementation strategies for the plan and revisions to the plan maps.
There are more than 120 action items within the implementation strategies, so the main objective for the commission is to check items off that list and make it up to date.
The issue the commission wants to dig into is maps, particularly the future land-use map. This map identifies which areas around Milton are open to future development or annexation. Much of these areas are in the northern and southern ends of town. To the south, the future land-use area runs from Gravel Hill Road to Diamond Farm Road and as far north as Reynolds Pond Road. Part of that land to the south includes the parcel that is planned for development as the Granary at Draper Farm, and developer Convergence Communities has asked the commission to consider adding a swath of land that runs from Harbeson Road south down Pettyjohn Road. This land includes two parcels, one that is 153 acres and another that is 171 acres. While nothing is spelled out as far as projects go, the rationale from Convergence for including the parcels is that they are already adjacent to the existing future growth area.
Commissioner Don Mazzeo said he’s reluctant to address the Convergence request.
“I’m not saying anything should or shouldn’t be done, but I’m reluctant today to be reviewing growth potential that needs to be further investigated,” he said. “I don’t think this is an appropriate time to be discussing that.”
He said the time to visit this issue is either during the next plan update or whenever an applicant comes forward with an annexation request.
The commission is planning to resume discussion in July.