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Statement from Mayor Lockwood on Veto of Ebenezer Rezoning

As the Mayor of the City of Milton, I have the power to veto any Ordinance approved by the City Council.  I very rarely exercise this power.  Since I have been the Mayor of Milton, I may have previously exercised this power on a single prior occasion.  However, the recent Ebenezer rezoning is a matter for which the exercise of my veto power is appropriate.  Let me be very clear.  I am not electing to veto because I was against the Ebenezer zoning.  My veto is much more focused on procedure and perception than on substance.  In the days since the April 25 meeting when this zoning was approved, the City has received multiple citizen complaints regarding the meeting procedure and, relatedly, perceptions that some participants at the meeting were given undue advantage.  The Ebenezer rezoning touched upon issues of paramount importance to the citizens of Milton, to include residential build-out, conservation issues, community septic, view shed corridors, and other issues that directly impact how Milton will look and feel over the next decade and beyond.   Decisions of such magnitude should not be made at 12:30 a.m. when all involved are fatigued; when some in the gallery feel excluded; and when the meeting process was less than optimal.  If I have an opportunity to correct those procedural concerns and otherwise address issues raised by a threatened third party legal challenge - while simultaneously inserting trust and confidence back in the process, then I feel duty bound to do so.  Therefore, I would like the Council to review this rezoning request a second time and ensure the decision-making process is appropriate such that all citizens - irrespective of position - believe it fair and impartial.   It may be that the Council makes the same decision as was made at 12:30 a.m. on April 26.  If so, that is fine.  I hereby veto the Ordinance, approved April 26, 2016, taking action on RZ16-02/VC16-01.

 

Mayor Joe Lockwood

May 9, 2016