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Woodstock could learn from Milton’s example

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Though I have only covered Milton for a short time, two things have become abundantly clear — residents and city representatives certainly love greenspace, and when a development is proposed, it is thoroughly vetted and discussed, ensuring it fits the city’s vision and is the right kind of development for the time and place.

Woodstock, where I reside, seems to operate differently.

Differently in the fact that the thought process behind developing previously undisturbed lands seems to be, “To hell with what the development is or where the land is, we want growth!”

In 2016, Woodstock was listed as the ninth fastest growing city in the state according to U.S. Census estimates. An Atlanta Regional Commission study said Cherokee County will see an increase of 160,000 residents by 2040, likely adding many residents to Woodstock, already Cherokee’s most populous city.

I certainly don’t view growth as a bad thing and I am absolutely no NIMBY. I’m glad my hometown is ever expanding and has started to gain statewide recognition for its downtown area. That being said, I believe Woodstock could use Milton as an example and not approve every bit of growth that is proposed.

Just recently, the Woodstock City Council approved a townhome development along Main Street that needed nine variances because 52 percent of the property was either a stream or stream bed. The development also needed variances because, going against city code, the development will not have sidewalks. Councilmembers even said the road in front of the development was in “bad shape” and needed repair. But it’s hard to deny something — even though it’s in conflict with multiple ordinances and will essentially wipe out a stream bed— when all you see is growth and not its impact.

Milton is certainly growing as well, but I think its community development department and city council are doing it right. Every proposed development or rezoning that comes along will not be right for Milton, and growth is not always worth it when there is no greenspace left. And whereas Milton certainly seems to want growth, they don’t seem willing to approve developments which don’t fit the city’s vision.

Woodstock’s city motto is “Her Heritage, Her Vision.” The problem is, “her vision” has been blocked by tons of new developments, and I’m not sure many of them are the right fit.

Milton residents might want to take note.

Coming before Woodstock’s Planning Commission in May will be a 40-acre mixed-use development slated for Arnold Mill Road and Ga. 140, less than a mile from Milton’s border with Woodstock.

This is an area where rush hour traffic can get so congested that one man used to sell coffee from the back of his truck along the road because he knew drivers would have plenty of time to pay considering no one was moving.

This project could easily add to the congestion, including all that spills over into Milton. And if history is any indication, prepare now, because Woodstock will surely approve it.


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