Deerfield apartments denied again by Milton City Council

256 units did not meet city requirements

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MILTON, Ga. – The mayor and Milton City Council once again denied Crescent Communities’ request for a use permit to build 256 apartment units in the Deerfield Parkway area in a unanimous vote at their Oct. 21 meeting.

Crescent originally presented a proposal in October 2012 for apartments to go on Deerfield Parkway, just south of City Hall. When the City Council denied the proposal, Crescent appealed the decision. The appeal was heard by Fulton County Superior Court and on May 20, the court ordered the case be reheard by Milton under the new Deerfield Ga. 9 Form Based Code.

Crescent revised their development under the code and requested a use permit to build 256 units. The city said the revised development failed to meet all the requirements laid out by the Deerfield Ga. 9 Form Based Code for land use. Crescent requested variances for the unmet requirements.

The code allows for apartments to be built with the requirement that the entire first story is used for non-residential functions, or 50 percent of the total floor area be dedicated to office, retail or lodging functions. Crescent requested a variance to permit them to use 100 percent of the development for apartments.

Crescent also requested the section stating “a minimum of 300 cubic feet of separate contiguous storage space shall be provided for each dwelling” be deleted, saying 300 cubic feet of space was excessive.

Jay Curran, vice president of Crescent Communities, said Crescent is still focused on providing housing for young professionals as well as empty nesters and expanding the diversity of Milton residents.

“I believe that we are providing the one missing piece in the area. That it actually does achieve the principles of the regional activities center, and it’s the only opportunity to make a truly walkable and bike-able area within this area,” Curran said.

Councilmember Joe Longoria said the city has a focus on bringing in more commercial space, explaining why the code only requires mixed use for residential buildings. He told Crescent the council was trying to find a way to work with them on this development and meet the standards put in place by the form based code.

“I don’t want you to leave if we deny it tonight thinking we just don’t like it. That’s not it at all. We are trying to figure out how to work with you guys,” Longoria said.

The council’s closing statements reflected that they wanted to hold to the land use plan that was produced through open discussion with Milton residents.

“I was really hoping that you would give me something mixed to grab a hold of and help push [this development] through this time,” Councilmember Burt Hewitt said. “I was kind of disappointed in that.”

“I wish we could have seen some aspect of a commercial component in [the plan],” Councilmember Matt Kunz said.

The council noted the difficulty of the decision before voting to deny Crescent a use permit to develop Deerfield as 100 percent apartments.