MILTON, Ga. – In a unanimous decision Aug. 18, the Milton City Council approved a bed and breakfast on Batesville Road. This was the first step toward consideration of an event facility on the property.
The landowner asked the city to allow the business in what is now a residential area. However, the location is now an 80-acre farm on the Milton-Cherokee County boundary. Currently, there is a 10,500-square-foot home on the land along with several ancillary buildings.
Along with the bed and breakfast business, the applicant is asking to use the land as a wedding and special event facility.
In their application, the owners said they wanted to change the house into a business “to preserve the nature of the property and showcase its beauty.”
Given how a large concern among many residents is the quickly dwindling rural and open space, as the large tracts get swallowed by housing developments, for a landowner to opt to keep things open is a change of pace, and exactly what the city wants, said Kathleen Field, the city community development director.
“It’s very in keeping with maintaining the city’s greenspace,” Field said.
In recent months, the city has been attempting to come to a consensus on the best way to preserve the greenspaces left in the city without infringing on property rights. Uses such as conservation subdivisions or turning farms into small businesses are two methods suggested.
Attorneys for the owners claimed in their filings with the city that turning the home into a business – with an events facility – is needed to offset the hefty taxes and fees of owning such a large amount of land.
Field said the ability to get an event facility in a rural or residential area is new, with only one other application approved. It was similar, being a horse farm that wanted an event facility.
What is also similar is how the neighboring residents have reacted to the application.
Neighbors have voiced concerns over everything an event facility would bring – noise and traffic, primarily.
Robyn MacDonald, a planner with the city, said part of the event facility is already built and did not require city approval, but to use it as an event facility would require approval.
In response to the neighbor concerns, the owners have enclosed much of the event facility and the proposed approval would require all noise to stop by 11 p.m.
The City Council approved the business in a 6-0 decision, with Councilwoman Karen Thurman recusing herself. The event facility appears before the Milton Planning Commission Aug. 27 at 7 p.m. and will be considered by the council in September.