MILTON, Ga. — In a special called meeting April 23, the Milton City Council revised its emergency order to allow the council to discuss ordinances and other city matters not related to the coronavirus pandemic. The emergency order will run until May 19 unless rescinded by the city.

The move stems from stipulations put in place by the city when it passed its original emergency order on March 20 in response to COVID-19. Under the order, the City Council’s policy-making powers were limited to only include plans or ordinances directly addressing the pandemic.

City Manager Steve Krokoff suggested the council reconsider the clause at the last council meeting so the city could continue discussions on several ordinances that had been placed on the backburner.

City Attorney Ken Jarrard said the amendment will allow the city to “open the lid a little” on matters not pertaining to the coronavirus. The update does not permit the city to vote on land-use items, such as zonings, variances or use-permits. It also prohibits strategic plans or long-term land-use documents.

Thursday’s move does allow city staff to continue drafting and fine-tuning city regulations, including the city’s alcohol ordinance. Prior to the pandemic, the city had drawn up alterations to the alcohol ordinance that would allow more alcohol-related business to open in the city and loosen some restrictions already in place.

Krokoff previously told the council adopting the updated alcohol regulations could have an immediate, positive impact to the hard-hit service industry once these businesses resume operations.

Milton is also in the final stages of updating its tree ordinance and drafting a vaping ordinance.

Jarrad said the council moving forward on these regulations can “prevent a significant backlog” in the city’s operations.

During the meeting, city officials briefly discussed Gov. Brian Kemp’s order that certain businesses, such as bowling alleys, massage parlors and salons, can resume operations April 24.

Krokoff said he does not expect these businesses, or restaurants, which are permitted to offer dine-in services beginning April 27, to come online immediately. The state’s shelter-in-place order runs until April 30, and Krokoff said the city will use the time leading up to that date to mull resuming some of Milton’s operations put on hold amid the pandemic.

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