MILTON, Ga. — A year after the City Council approved Matilda’s relocation to the Birmingham Crossroads area — a highly contentious issue for many residents — the venue is seeking additional variances and zoning modifications.
Matilda’s hosted its first performance in May.
The modifications include a request to allow more guests at concerts and to increase parking at the venue. Four variances are also being sought for setbacks and for the site’s parking area.
In a letter to the city, property owner Curtis Mills said the “primary subject” of the application is to include additional parking.
Mills said the city informed him a Georgia Power utility right of way area could be used for added parking, and he paid to prepare the site and lay gravel. However, he said the city later said the site could only be used for parking on the venue’s opening night.
Mills was also under the impression through conversations with the city that the businesses within the crossroads area had a shared parking agreement, and attendees could park at these businesses and walk to Matilda’s. No such agreement exists, he said.
“Owners of the other corners have made it clear that they will tow any Matilda’s attendee cars parked on their corners,” the letter from Mills said. “We do not want that. This land is available, already cleared by Georgia Power, otherwise unusable, safe and not in public view, so it should pose no adverse impact to the community in any way.”
Two variances are being requested related to the venue’s parking, including the deletion of the requirement for landscaped islands in the proposed parking lot and for all parking to be in a single area. Mills said Georgia Power does not permit any construction or installation in the utility easement.
In addition to parking, the site is seeking to raise the number of allowable guests at each performance. The city capped the number of patrons permitted at each concert at 200, with two performances a year allowing up to 250. The venue is requesting to raise each of those figures by 50 attendees.
In a letter to the city, Mills said there have been no traffic or seating issues with 250 patrons at a show, and there “was adequate seating space for additional attendees.”
The four concurrent variances include a request to allow the fence along Hickory Road to be placed in the right-of-way. The venue was required to construct the fence as a condition of the relocation, and though it connects with the fence on a neighboring property, Mills said the Fulton County geographic map was incorrect and the fence has encroached on the right-of-way. In his letter, Mills said three planted trees and a sidewalk would need to be shifted in order to move the fence.
Matilda’s is also seeking to increase a rural building setback to construct a permanent bathroom facility. Mills said because the bathroom would be considered a new building, the Birmingham Overlay requirements would prohibit the bathroom from being convenient to concert attendees.
The requests were set to go to the Milton City Council on Aug. 19, but Mills has asked for a deferral to the Sept. 23 meeting.
Noise generated by concerts has been a major concern for the site’s neighbors, but the venue has complied with the noise limits set on its special-use permit.
Through an open records request obtained by Appen Media Group, Milton Police fielded seven noise complaint calls from May 25 to July 13 at Matilda’s. According to city officials, Matilda’s did not exceed its permitted 75 decibel limit at adjacent property lines when police were called to investigate noise complaints.
In response to the grievances, Milton has contracted consulting firm BWS Acoustics to perform professional acoustics testing at Matilda’s.