MILTON, Ga. — Milton’s two new City Council members will be sworn in Jan. 8, and both are looking forward to the opportunity.
Laura Bentley will represent District 2, Post 1 while Jamison takes over District 1, Post 1.
Bentley defeated incumbent Bill Lusk for her seat in the Nov. 7 general election, garnering 71 percent of the vote. Peyton Jamison ran uncontested for his seat after Karen Thurman announced in August she would not seek re-election.
Each bring experience from Milton’s volunteer committees, Bentley serving as the Equestrian Committee chair and Jamison as chair of the Planning Commission.
During her campaign, Bentley said she was able to speak with Milton citizens on a wide array of issues. Following her election win, she is excited for the opportunity to be the voice for those concerned residents.
“I heard a lot of feedback from a lot of different stakeholder groups, and I’m prepared to follow up on some on those suggestions the citizens had,” Bentley said.
A focus for Bentley will be on properly addressing a challenge Milton faces — a city based in rural charm that continues to grow.
She said the city’s steps toward preserving its character through initiatives, such as the new tree ordinance, Greenspace Bond, Transfer of Development Rights and incentivizing large lots are all positive.
“It’s about striking a balance,” she said. “I believe we are all trying to do all we can to keep Milton special and looking into those things that make the quality of life as high as we all like it here. Residents became involved because they want to preserve the reasons they moved here in the first place.”
Bentley’s background stemmed from being one of those concerned residents. Other than her time with the city’s Equestrian Committee, she has no other political experience. But that gives her a valuable perspective, she said.
“I hope that I can bring a perspective that is the citizens’,” she said. “I will be asking the questions citizens want to know. I know everyone on the council has the residents at the forefront of their minds, but having not been [an elected official], that will be something I can add.”
As a political newcomer, Bentley will strive to get all the information available on issues. That includes consultations with city staff, which she believes are crucial.
“We have a great city staff that is continuing to put Milton’s mission and goals as a top priority in all they do,” Bentley said.
Bentley is “honored” to be able to serve on the council, and is looking forward to representing the city she loves.
“It is so special that we have a great group of residents who are passionate about the place they live,” she said. “I am going to take this very seriously and put all of my effort into doing right by the people and representing them to the best of my ability.”
Peyton Jamison says he will put residents first and will bring energy to the City Council. As a small business owner and the chair of the Planning Commission, he said he wants to bring the “right” business growth to the city.
“I’m looking forward to attract quality small business,” he said. “We are seeing the Crabapple area continue to boom and we need to attract the right businesses to the area.”
In order to do so, Jamison said there must be continuing communication between the small business community and City Hall.
“We need to do everything we can to help them have a successful business here,” Jamison said. “Whether that is streamlining the permit process or making it easier to get licenses, I’d like for that process to be improved.”
Jamison also says he wants to keep high-density at bay.
He has been pleased with those efforts with the city’s Greenspace Bond, the expansion of the parks and trails system and incentivizing large lots. Retaining the city’s AG-1 zoning is a top priority, he said. Creating a system that will draw builders to develop large lots will maintain that low density, but Jamison said it must be approached correctly.
“You really have to give incentive, it’s not just something on paper,” he said.
Jamison will be closely monitoring the city’s Unified Development Code, which is still in the works. He said residents should also be in the know.
“We took a lot of our codes from Fulton County and they are a little confusing to some,” he said. “[The UDC] should make it easier for everybody to understand, but it’s most important we don’t add anything that is going to create more density.”
Jamison said he will also focus on the city’s roads to keep up with growing demand, especially in Downtown Crabapple and the Bethany Bend area.
“Traffic and infrastructure need to keep up with improvements,” he said.
His ultimate mission is to put the community first, he said.