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Community Development Frequently Asked Questions

Land Development

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I report un-permitted land disturbance?

Call City of Milton at 678.242.2500 and ask for a development inspector.

When do I need a Grading Permit/Development Permit?

Any activity that disturbs more than 0.10 acres of land (5,000 square feet) or is within 200 feet of state waters or lake will require a Land Disturbance Permit.

Can you make a copy of my property or subdivision plan?

Yes, if the Community Development Department has a plat or a reference to the plat. Please contact the City Clerk’s Office at 678.242.2500 and ask for an Open Records Request.

How can I obtain a copy of the City of Milton standard construction specifications?

The City's Community Development Department has copies of the construction specifications as well as a plan review checklist, details, buffer regulations and storm water regulations.

Does the City maintain detention ponds?

No. Detention pond maintenance is the responsibility of the property owner or homeowners association.

What width are the City's stream buffers?

A stream buffer is a vegetated area, including trees, shrubs and herbaceous vegetation, which exists or is established to protect a stream system, lake, reservoir or coastal estuarine area. Stream buffers are 50 feet as measured from the bank of the stream with an additional 25-foot impervious set back.

What activities are permitted within stream buffers?

Alteration of this natural area is strictly limited; however, some types of activities are permitted within the undisturbed portion of the stream buffers. Property owners may conduct some selective thinning or trimming provided a protective vegetative cover is left to preserve water quality and aquatic habitat. Additionally, a natural canopy must remain to shade the stream bed. Mechanized removal, i.e. bobcats, bulldozers, chain saws, etc., of vegetative cover is not permitted. 
* Please check with the Community Development Department before disturbing any stream buffer.*

Who do I contact for a sanitary sewer emergency?

If the problem is on private property, contact a reputable plumbing company. If you suspect that the problem is in the main line, contact the Fulton County Public Works Department at 770.640.3061.

Plan Review

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need to make an appointment?

No, applications are taken on a first-come, first-served basis. Walk-ins are welcome, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. One-stop meetings, however, with plan reviewers are by appointment only on Wednesdays from 2 to 5 p.m.

Do I have to pay a fee?

There are plan review fees for most submittals. These fees vary depending on the type of application. Fees may be paid by check, money order or credit card. All checks/money orders should be made payable to the City of Milton.

Click here to see the fee schedule.


Frequently Asked Questions

Why do we need a Tree Protection Ordinance?

A tree protection ordinance will protect individual trees of exceptional value and will cultivate and encourage a high level of tree preservation for the benefit for the City of Milton and its citizens.

What is a specimen tree?

A specimen tree is any tree in fair or better condition which equals or exceeds the following diameter sizes.

Click here to see a diagram of specimen trees.

Tree Type Diameter Examples
Large hardwoods 27' d.b.h. Oak, hickory, yellow poplar, sweetgum, etc.
Large hardwoods 24' d.b.h. Beech
Large softwoods 24' d.b.h. Pine, Deodar cedar
Small native flowering 10' d.b.h. Dogwood, redbud, sourwood
Do I need a permit to remove trees on my residential property?

Approval from the city arborist is required to remove a specimen tree or trees planted as a condition of zoning or permitting. The removal of trees other than those previously stated is allowed as long as it does not bring the tree density for the site below the required density and does not encroach into any buffers. For undeveloped property, no removal shall occur without the consent of the city arborist. For more information, contact the city arborist at 678.242.2500. 

What about a commercial property?

Tree removal from a commercial site will require a site visit from the city arborist to verify site conditions.

What are the penalties?

Illegal removal of a tree can lead to an on-the-spot fine of up to $1,000 for each tree and recompense tree plantings may be required.

I want a better view of the lake. Can I remove the trees to obtain that view?

There is a 50-foot stream buffer/state waters requirement that must be adhered to. No disturbance within the buffer is allowed. Violators could be subject to penalties from the City of Milton and the Georgia Environmental Protection Division.

Using a tree care company: Questions for you to ask the vendor
  • Does the company have current workers compensation as well as personal and property damage insurance?
  • Is the company a member of a professional organization such as the International Society of Arboriculture?
  • Does the company employ ISA certified arborist?
  • Does the company have references for similar work performed?
  • Will the company be responsible for the disposal of all limbs and debris? If a tree is being removed, will the stump be removed and cleaned up?


For further information, contact the City of Milton arborist at 678.242.2500.



Frequently Asked Questions

What is a permit?

A permit is an agreement between the City and the applicant whereby the applicant agrees to follow the City codes and the Land Use code. The applicant must submit plans to show what he or she intends to do. For some projects, the plans may require preparation by a licensed architect or engineer registered by the state of Georgia. When the plans are approved, the construction must conform to the plan. Any deviations or changes from these plans cannot be approved in the field.

Why do I need a permit?

A permit ensures that the Community Development Department will inspect the work. The inspector may discover faulty materials, deviations from the approved plans or violations of the building codes and land use codes that may result in an unsafe or hazardous conditions. It is a violation of City ordinance not to have a permit when work is being done. Failure to obtain a permit may result in a "stop work order" and/or citation.

How much does a permit cost?

The City of Milton uses this fee schedule. For further information please contact the City at 678.242.2500 and ask for the Permit Counter.

Where can I get a permit and who is responsible for obtaining a permit?

An application for permit is submitted at the Community Development Department's permitting counter. We are located at 13000 Deerfield Parkway, Suite 107F. Hours are 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, excluding legal holidays. The homeowner or contractor can submit the application for a permit but it is the responsibility of the homeowner/property owner to ensure a permit is secured and posted on the job site.

What are my responsibilities after obtaining a permit?

Once a permit has been obtained from the Community Development Department's building division there are certain responsibilities placed on the homeowner and/or contractor. The homeowner is responsible for obtaining the permit for the proposed project and for posting it on the site. The individual doing the work covered by the permit must call for inspection prior to covering or concealing work. When a permit is issued, a sheet will be given to you listing the common required inspections.

Where do I get forms?

Forms are posted on our Website or obtained from our office (permit counter). Any other forms that are used will be rejected. 

What are Milton's minimum standard codes?

On October 1, 1991, the Uniform Codes Act became effective in Georgia.On July 1, 2004, this Act was revised to make the following eight construction codes mandatory as the Georgia State Minimum Standard Codes. Listed below are the code editions in effect as of January 1, 2015:

International Building Code: 2012 Edition
International Residential Code: 2012 Edition
International Plumbing Code: 2012 Edition
International Mechanical Code: 2012 Edition
International Fuel Gas Code: 2012 Edition
International Energy Conservation Code: 2009 Edition
International Fire Code: 2012 Edition
National Electrical Code: 2014 Edition

The Act requires local governments that elect to enforce these codes within their jurisdictions to adopt administrative procedures and penalties in order to locally enforce any of these mandatory codes. Also, any applicable appendices of these codes must be adopted locally in order to be enforceable within a specific local jurisdiction.

The Act also made the following optional codes available for local government adoption and enforcement. Local governments choosing to enforce any of the below optional codes must adopt the code(s) they wish to enforce, as well as administrative procedures and penalties.

International Property Maintenance Code: 2012 Edition
International Existing Building Code: 2012 Edition
International Swimming Pool and Spa Code: 2012 Edition
National Green Building Standard: 2008 Edition

The Georgia Amendments are available here.

The DCA Board specifically omitted the plumbing, electrical, and energy requirements of the International Residential Code for One- and Two-Family Dwellings. Therefore, the plumbing requirements of the International Plumbing Code, the electrical requirements of the National Electrical Code, and the energy requirements of the International Energy Conservation Code must be used for one- and two-family dwelling construction.

If you need assistance in establishing or updating construction codes enforcement program in your area, please contact DCA’s Construction Codes Program at 404.679.3118 or by e-mail.

Planning & Zoning

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you provide information on a particular parcel of property?

Yes, in many cases. Contact the Community Development Department for zoning information or the Finance Department for property tax information at 678.242.2500.

Where can I find City of Milton Zoning Ordinance?

You can locate the City of Milton Zoning Ordinance from the Community Development page under Zoning Ordinance.

How do I apply for a rezoning?

Applicants must complete the rezoning application form, which can be found under Find a Form or Permit.

What is a Variance and who can submit a Variance to?

A variance applicant requests relief from the standards of the zoning ordinance except relief from use, minimum lot area, or minimum lot frontage. Any person may submit an application to the Board of Zoning Appeals for a variance from the provision of the Milton Zoning Ordinance.

How do I obtain a Zoning Certification Letter?

Zoning Certification Letters are issued for $30. The requester must provide two forms of property identification including legal description of property, property address, tax parcel ID, survey or zoning case.

Where can I get maps?

You may download City of Milton maps from our Web site under the Maps link, or you may purchase a color 16 x 24 map for $15. Council District, Zoning and Street maps are available. Contact Nick O'Day, Milton's GIS manager, at 678.242.2500 for maps.


Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I find City of Milton Sign Ordinance?

You can locate the City of Milton Sign Ordinance here.

Why must I submit a site plan to permit a sign?

When permitting a freestanding sign it is necessary for staff to verify that the proposed location for the sign is on the subject property and that the sign meets the required setback. For wall signs, a site plan is necessary to determine the location of the particular building or tenant space.

How long does it take to receive my Permanent Sign Permit?

As long as no variances are being requested, permanent signs are permitted administratively. After you have submitted all the required information, staff has 30 days to approve or deny your sign. Depending on workload, staff can typically approve a permanent sign permit within 10 business days.

Where do I place the Permanent Sign Permit sticker?

You should place the sign permit sticker in the lower right hand area so that it will be easily viewed when the sign is inspected. You should keep the copy of the approved permit application, provided by staff, in your records.

How long does my Permanent Sign Permit last?

Once the Permanent Sign Permit has been issued, you will have six months to install the sign. After six months, if the proposed sign has not been installed, you will be required to apply for a new sign permit. Under special circumstances one 90-day extension may be granted. Once a permanent sign has been permitted and installed, the sign permit is good for as long as the sign is maintained in good, safe working order and meets the requirements of the code.

What if I want to move my current sign to a new location?

Permanent Sign Permits are specific to a location. If you have a permit for your current sign and you want to move it from one location to another, you will need a new permit. Staff will review the dimensional and technical aspects of your existing sign to ensure that it complies with the Sign Ordinance requirements specific in the new location.

What type of variances can I seek in the Sign Ordinance?

The Board of Zoning Appeals can only grant a sign variance where existing foliage or structures bring about a hardship whereby a sign meeting minimum letter size, square footage and height requirements cannot be read from an adjoining public road.

Can I put a sign up at the entrance to my farm?

One maximum 32-square-foot, freestanding sign per business or institutional lot shall be permitted for each street on which the lot has frontage.

Are yard sale signs allowed?

Each residence may display up to 12 square feet of signage with no single sign greater than 4 square feet. There are no restrictions on the content of these signs.

Can I put up a sign on my property during construction?

One sign shall be allowed during construction. The sign may be externally illuminated, shall not exceed 12 square feet in area and five feet in height, and shall be allowed beginning with the commencement of construction and ending with the issuance of the last Certificate of Occupancy or two years, whichever one shall first occur. Thereafter, the permitee may reply for a renewal permit.

Are banners allowed?

Banners shall be allowed for a period not exceeding 10 consecutive days with no more than four such 10 consecutive day periods being permitted per calendar year. Banner shall not be more than 24 square feet. Banner shall be mounted so as to extend above the horizontal plane of the roof where the building wall and roof meet or shall not extend more than five feet above grade when on the ground. The maximum size allowed is 24 square feet.

What forms of payment are accepted?

The City accepts a check or a credit card (VISA, Mastercard, American Express.)

Business Signs

Signage permits are required for most external signage within the City of Milton. If you have specific questions about what types of signs are allowed, size restrictions, placement, etc., please contact the City’s Community Development Department at 678-242-2500.

Frequently Asked Questions

I operate a business out of my home. What kind of signage can I have?

No permanent signage identifying the business is allowed.

What kind of temporary signs can I have?

Businesses are allowed to have banners, however, they must comply with the following:

  1. No more than one banner* may be displayed at a time.
  2. Banner must have a height no greater than 5 feet.
  3. Banners may be displayed no more than 40 days in a year.
  4. Signage shall be 10 feet from the right of way and 20 feet from the edge of pavement.
  5. Banners require a sign permit.

*Please Note: Inflatable rooftop balloons and inflatable nylon characters and objects are not considered banners. [City Code Sec. 64- 2295 (2)]

What about window signs?

Permanent and temporary window signs shall not exceed 5 percent of the aggregate window area and shall not block visibility from the outside. Window signs with neon, florescent, LED lighting or tube lights are prohibited.

I am constructing a new building for my business, what do I need to know before I have a sign created?

The sign application can be found here. The Sign Ordinance can be found here.

Am I allowed to use a free standing sign on my property in addition to the signage on the building, and what are the requirements?

Yes, per the Sign Ordinance overlay requirements.

Am I allowed to use a free standing sign on my property in addition to the signage on the building, and what are the requirements?

Yes, per the Sign Ordinance overlay requirements.

We’d like to install an electronic sign on our business’ property, what are the requirements/restrictions?

Flashing, animated, rotating and changeable copy signs are prohibited.

Our business is a multi-tenant building with limited sign space because of the number of tenants. Are there any other alternatives we can consider that are not in violation of the City Code?

You may apply for a variance to increase the number or size of allowable signs.

Are sandwich boards allowed and what are the restrictions?

Sandwich board signs are prohibited.

What are the regulations regarding real estate and open house signs?

Real estate signs are allowed as follows:

During the sale or lease of property, one sign per road frontage of the property for sale or lease, shall be allowed.

The sign shall not be internally illuminated. The sign shall not exceed nine square feet on major roads, and six square feet on all other roads.

A permit shall be required for signs greater than six square feet.

Prohibited Signs

  • Signs on roadsides (stop signs, yield signs, speed limit signs etc) including utility poles and trees
  • Signs located in any public right of way
  • Signs on vehicles (exception – the vehicle must have valid registration and inspection, used in the course of the business and parked away from the street as feasibly possible)
  • Roof signs
  • Signs of illusion
  • Signs resembling traffic signals
  • Animated signs (flashing, blinking, etc.)
  • Flags (exception – flags showing the insignia of nation, state, county, or city)
  • Neon signs
  • Portable or moveable display signs
  • Signs obstructing access

Disclaimer – This document is to serve as a general guide to the sign ordinance and does not encompass all requirements and restrictions of that ordinance. Please contact the department of Community Development for clarification and additional information on signs and sign permits.