Council discusses new fire station, welcomes firefighters
Milton’s Fire Department took center stage at Monday night’s City Council meeting, with Mayor Lockwood swearing in two new firefighters while the Council agreed upon an approach to rebuild Fire Station 42.
During the meeting, the Council touched on a wide variety of other topics as well – from farm wineries to tree canopies to the future of the Freemanville and Birmingham intersection.
After roll call – with two Council members Rick Mohrig and Carol Cookerly calling in and participating that way throughout – the meeting kicked off with two public comments that built off the Council’s July 13 “Work Session.” That meeting focused largely on trails and buffers at the former Milton Country Club, with both neighbors offering further input suggesting further revisions. Later in the meeting, Mayor Joe Lockwood suggested revisions remain possible as the project moves forward.
The Mayor then segued to discussing the Milton Fire-Rescue Department’s busy, challenging last few days, battling back-to-back-to-back fires on consecutive nights at an abandoned house, a single-family home and an apartment building in Milton. Milton and Alpharetta crews did all three without any fire-related injuries to citizens or significant damage to nearby properties.
“You really had to work hard this weekend…,” Lockwood said. “Thank you guys for being there and keeping us safe.”
Fire Chief Robert Edgar stepped to the lectern, acknowledging, “After this weekend, it’s good to have some fresh young blood coming into the Department. Because our folks are worn after this past weekend. And they did a great job.”
The new firefighters are:
• Timothy Brown, a third-generation firefighter who spent five years in the Marine Corps
• Mary Glasgow, a Florida native who majored in civil engineering in college then worked three years as a paramedic
With all wearing masks, Lockwood then swore in both Brown and Glasgow on the Council Chambers floor.
Council: New Fire Station 42 needn't be LEED-certified
After that, Chief Edgar pivoted to a different topic: Fire Station 42 off Thompson Road. He pointed out Fulton County had planned to replace the 3,700 square foot building, which was built in the 1970s, in the 1990s. That didn’t happen, nor has the City of Milton done anything with it – yet -- since assuming ownership.
“It’s ready to go,” said Edgar. “It’s ready to be replaced.”
After the Council opened the door for a replacement, Edgar outlined plans for a state-of-the-art, roughly 7,000-square foot building that should last for about 50 years. The main outstanding issue to be decided: if this structure should be built as LEED certified (at roughly 20% higher expense) or not.
The City hadn’t originally budgeted for a LEED design. Edgar noted that, if the City took a non-LEED certified approach, a rebuilt Fire Station 42 would resemble the soon-to-open Fire Station 44 in the new Public Safety Complex. Such a design would have many LEED elements “without the plaque” certifying it as such, Edgar said.
Later in the meeting, the Mayor and Council approved the Fire Department moving forward with the less expensive non-LEED certified approach.
Fervent discussion about Freemanville at Birmingham roundabout
The meeting shifted to an altogether different topic: a concept discussion for a future roundabout at Freemanville and Birmingham roads.
A neighbor whose property abuts the proposed roundabout expressed concerns related to gridlock traffic, excess speed, difficult navigating the road with horse trailers and more. Another nearby resident called for a hydrology study and replacing buffers, among other suggestions.
Public Works Director Robert Drewry then spoke, explaining the roundabout idea for this intersection first came up in 2014. He added that the concept layout had been revised since a January 2020 Council meeting, as well as conversations with one of the most affected property owners.
Drewry noted that the City is in “the conceptual plan stage,” thus many elements of the roundabout and its impacts are still to be decided. He said that, at this point, the roundabout likely would look more like the one at Freemanville and Providence roads than a larger one.
No vote was taken Monday on this roundabout.
“This is a concept; it’s not written in stone,” said Lockwood, noting that the matter would come back to the City Council once more design work is completed.
Jim Cregge retirement, farm wineries OK to sell non-Georgia wines
Several other issues were also touched upon at Monday’s Council meeting, including:
• Council members approving an alcohol license for the new owners of Cans Taqueria
• A four-month time extension of the City’s policy of allowing Milton to apply either the density-based Tree Conservation Ordinance or the canopy-based Tree Conservation Ordinance. The new end date would be November 30.
• Pushing back consideration of a possible replacement for the above policy until the Council’s next meeting on August 3.
• Council passage of a revision to the City’s recently revised alcohol ordinance to allow for Milton farm wineries to sell wine produced outside Georgia. Members and Economic Development Manager Sarah LaDart also discussed that other changes, like possibly allowing farm wineries to sell beer and liquor, could be addressed in a separate process related to Special Use Permits.
• Another extension of the City’s Emergency Ordinance, continuing measures to support Milton businesses through at least August 11. City Attorney Key Jarrard noted that Milton’s options in several ways are limited by state laws that supersede local ones.
• Mayor Lockwood recognized Jim Cregge’s retirement as the City’s Parks and Recreation Director. Lockwood publicly thanked Cregge for his “heart and soul,” honoring the big impact he’s made in the City.
The City Council’s next meeting is scheduled for August 3 in City Hall.