MILTON, Ga. — For the second straight year, the Milton City Council has adopted a resolution opposing a state bill that would take away the city’s ability to regulate residential development standards.
House Bill 302 could go before the Legislature this year, and if passed, counties and cities would no longer have the capacity to regulate building design for one- or two-family residences. Milton adopted a resolution opposing the bill when it was introduced last year.
Neither chamber passed the bill last year, but Patrick Jaugstetter with the city attorney’s office Jarrard & Davis said the measure has regained momentum.
“I can tell you, with our contacts at the Capitol, the real estate development community is pushing very hard to put this back in front of the House and Senate and seek approval again,” Jaugstetter said.
The regulations can present constitutional challenges, and the move to nullify local residential building standards is unparalleled, Jaugstetter said.
“It would prohibit you from things like exterior building design standards, roof pitch standards, all of the things you are probably typically doing in most of your residential rezonings to ensure the quality of construction,” he said. “It is an unprecedented effort on behalf of the state to strip local governments of their traditional zoning powers. Essentially, the state grants you zoning powers, and this would be an effort to preempt you from imposing those conditions. And these conditions are probably the ones most important to you and your constituents when rezonings are brought before you.”
Several North Fulton cities, including Alpharetta, Johns Creek and Roswell, have joined Milton both years in opposing the bill, and more will likely join the fray during the 2020 legislative session.
Milton City Councilman Rick Mohrig said he strongly opposes the bill, and Councilwoman Carol Cookerly suggested the council also reach out to the city’s state representatives to voice their opposition.
Councilwoman Laura Bentley said if the bill were passed, it would practically negate the roles of the city’s Design Review Board and the city architect.