MILTON, Ga. — The Milton City Council approved several updates to the city’s codes relating to temporary fireworks stands and discussed lighting options for two future roundabouts during its Sept. 9 meeting.
With equestrian farms in many areas of the city, fireworks use is a contentious issue, and the city’s ordinance updates makes it more challenging for roadside and temporary fireworks stands to operate in the city.
The code changes strictly limit when and where a fireworks stand may operate and how they look.
The new regulations only allow fireworks stands to operate in select areas in the Crabapple and Deerfield areas for no more than 30 consecutive days. The businesses would be limited to 800 square feet in total size and could only be white or off-white in color. A single banner, either black, white or off-white, would be allowed. Stands must be located within 1,000 feet of a fire hydrant.
Several council members said they had either fielded questions from residents about completely banning fireworks stands or wondered themselves why the city was not taking that direction.
Councilman Joe Longoria said the city routinely touts its equestrian character and spends time and resources ahead of all major holidays where fireworks are routinely used urging residents to be cautious about their use.
While state law prohibits the city from banning the use of fireworks, Longoria asked City Attorney Ken Jarrard if Milton could ban the stands altogether. He proposed an analogy in the city’s ban on vape shops from operating in Milton. The move does not ban the use of vaping products, he said, but it does prevent their sale in the city.
Jarrard said he “cannot get comfortable” with a blanket ban on temporary fireworks stands in Milton.
Community Development Director Parag Agrawal voiced that while stands can still operate in the city, the regulations do impose regulations on where they can operate and come with design standards.
Councilman Peyton Jamison said that he thinks that’s enough to effectively drive away fireworks vendors from Milton.
“With these regulations, they’re going to Forsyth [County] or Alpharetta,” Jamison said.
In other action at the meeting, officials discussed streetlighting for the future roundabouts along Hopewell Road at the intersection of Hamby Road and Thompson Road. The city has opened the bidding process to construct the roundabouts.
Earlier this year, council members were generally in favor of decorative streetlights, but changed their tune when cost estimates came in.
Using Georgia Power to install and maintain the lights at both roundabouts would cost $137,000 in upfront costs plus monthly charges. Public Works Director Robert Drewry said the city could hire its own contractor for installation, but that would come with a higher price tag and Milton would be responsible for all service and repair of the lights.
That was a bit too opulent for board members who instead opted for traditional timber poles with attached lights. Each new pole would be $500 with monthly lighting costs for each light around $16 to $26.
Councilmembers voiced approval for the lower-cost option, with Laura Bentley stating it also would provide a more rural aesthetic over the decorative lights.
In other action, the city’s emergency ordinance was extended to Oct. 10. The ordinance has been pared down since March and now only includes provisions for allowing to-go beer and wine sales for businesses with permits for on-site alcohol sales, and it relaxes Milton’s signage codes.
The council also approved an 8-lot subdivision, dubbed Deerhaven Preserve, on 25 acres along Freemanville Road adjacent to the White Columns subdivision.
Council members also awarded DAF Concrete a $410,000 contract for construction of sidewalks along Cogburn Road for connectivity between the Devonshire and Oakstone Glen subdivisions and Cambridge High School.