Milton hires conservation expert for ‘green print’

Resident has history with green law

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MILTON, Ga. — Milton Council voted April 14 to hire local conservation expert Laurel Florio to lead the conservation initiative for the city.

“I’m thrilled to be working to help the city in which I live,” Florio said.

With more than 25 years in the conservation field, Florio is also an attorney.

“She brings a unique skill set to the city,” Preserve Rural Milton Initiative member Laura Rencher said. “Her knowledge and experience is just what we need to preserve the rural character committed to by the city in the strategic plan.”

Florio has worked for various environmental organizations, most notably for Ducks Unlimited in Memphis, Tenn.

She is an educator for the Washington, D.C.-based Land Trust Alliance, an organization dedicated to land conservation.

Milton City Manager Chris Lagerbloom said he feels Florio’s expertise is a good fit for the city.

“We’re excited to have Laurel as a consulting expert because of the tremendous experience she brings to our conservation efforts,” he said. “Our residents and elected officials have given us clear direction to strike a new balance in Milton of green space protection, personal property rights and business opportunities, and Laurel’s expertise brings us one step closer to completing that mission.”

Mayor Joe Lockwood said he wants to maintain the rural feel of the city but that there is no simple solution.

“There are many factors that play into the design and density of the city,” he said. “And we need to make sure we address all of them with an expert eye.”

And that’s Florio’s job.

“I’ve been brought on to help the city determine several factors necessary to preserve the rural character of the city,” she said. “Since the strategic plan prioritizes conservation and green space, part of what I’ll be doing is determining where primary protection areas might be located.”

Florio said her job would include working on the green print for the city as well as establishing options for land use for landowners.

“There are many options available to land owners, including things like Transfer of Development Rights programs, so I’ll work with the city to determine what is most effective to maintaining the rural character,” she said.

Rencher hopes the city will incorporate some of the Preserve Rural Milton Initiative ideas into the green print and is looking forward to sharing ideas with Florio.

“We’d like to see the development of the multi-use Milton Trail, where people could walk, run or even ride horses,” she said.

MH 04-30-14