Downtown Crabapple plan moves to next step

Planning Commission unanimously approves plan for council’s consideration

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MILTON, Ga. — The Crabapple Placemaking Plan, a proposed vision for the future development of downtown Crabapple, will move for consideration before the City Council after the Milton Planning Commission unanimously approved the plan.

The Placemaking Plan, drafted by the Atlanta-based TSW architecture firm, Noelle Consulting and Toole Design, is a long-term vision for the downtown Crabapple area that conforms to current form-based code. The plan includes the addition of streets and road improvements, phased development of mixed-use, retail and living space, bike lanes, sidewalk improvements and the addition of parks.

The plan states that 72,000 square feet of office space, 103,550 square feet of mixed-use and 25,200 square feet of retail space could be phased into downtown Crabapple depending on market demand. Living spaces, including condos above retail space, townhomes, single-family homes and live-work units could also be phased in.

According to TSW’s Tom Walsh, 50 attached condos and 10 detached homes could be phased in annually depending on demand.

Most of this development is proposed within the northwest and northeast sections of the intersection of Crabapple Road, Birmingham Highway, Mayfield Road and Broadwell Road.

Within the plan, multi-use paths and bike lanes would be added along Crabapple Road, and the width of the roadway would be downsized from GDOT’s suggested 13.5-feet wide to 11-feet wide in an effort to reduce traffic speed. Sidewalk and streetscape improvements, including the addition of roundabouts, are also within the plan along Mayfield Road and Birmingham Highway.

Walsh said he thinks the connection of bike paths within the new plan could, “set the standard for bike lane programs in metro Atlanta.” He said the plan also aims to make the entirety of the downtown Crabapple area walkable.

Four new parks are also proposed within the plan, two large parks on Birmingham Highway and Mayfield Road and two smaller pocket parks.

The 21-acre proposed Birmingham Highway park would consist of a dog park, two open lawns, an amphitheater, community garden, orchard and conservation of trees in the northern section. The 7-acre Crabapple park would include using the existing lake while adding a boardwalk and an amphitheater space.

A proposed trail system would connect the two parks to Northwestern Middle School and Crabapple Crossing Elementary.

The elephant in the room for the proposed plan is parking. A firm decision on parking was not made in TSW’s plan.

Options include the possibility of contracted valet service with valet stations set up in various locations within downtown, the construction of a parking deck or valet stands with a parking deck.

Walsh said the proposed new office development could provide additional parking during nighttime peak hours as these spaces would likely be empty during these hours. The open spaces could benefit valet services, which Walsh said would likely be the most cost-effective strategy. Proposed valet stations would be set up at the Milton Public Library, a new proposed retail space along Mayfield Road, at Milton’s restaurant, Olde Blind Dog and Can’s Taqueria.

On-street parking is also proposed along Birmingham Highway and Crabapple Road.

The potential parking deck in the plan would be constructed between Crabapple Road and Heritage Walk.

The plan will be considered for adoption at the Feb. 22 council meeting.

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