MILTON, Ga. — Milton’s City Council chambers were packed to the brim Monday night as Mayor Joe Lockwood and new council members Peyton Jamison and Laura Bentley were sworn in to standing ovations and cheers. Chief Municipal Judge Brian Hansford read oaths to the three members of the council.
For Lockwood, Monday’s meeting was the first of his last term as Mayor. He defeated challenger Laura Rencher for the position in the Nov. 7 general election, retaining his role as the only mayor since the city incorporated in 2006.
While Lockwood has his final four years ahead of him, a new era on the Council began as Jamison and Bentley took part in their first meetings.
Each replaced long-standing council members who had served for 11 years — Bentley ousting Bill Lusk for District 2, Post 1 in the Nov. 7 general election and Jamison running uncontested to replace Karen Thurman in District 1, Post 1. Jamison previously served as the chair on the Planning Commission. Bentley held the same title on the Equestrian Committee.
One of the first orders of business Monday was nominating and appointing members to various advisory boards. In all, 22 appointees were named to the city’s Board of Zoning Appeals, Cultural Arts Committee, Design Review Board, Parks and Recreation Advisory Board and Planning Commission.
The two new council members also cast the only dissents on a text amendment to the city’s Deerfield form-based code. The measure passed 4-2 with Councilman Joe Longoria absent.
The amendment lifts the current ban on residential development in the T-6 transect zone, the highest density allowed under the code. The moratorium was enacted to allow city staff time to rework the form-based code to limit new housing in one of the city’s major commercial zones that runs along Deerfield Parkway, Webb Road and Morris Road.
The city stated that Milton has a limited amount of land available for commercial and office uses located under its current ordinances. With “interest” from builders to use the area for residential-only developments, the city aimed to limit housing in the area to increase the potential for commercial tax revenue.
The text amendment restricts new housing in the zone to apartments and condominiums, on conditions that such developments either contain at least 50 percent commercial space, or on the entire first floor of the building. Any proposed complexes that include housing would also require a special use permit.
Under T-6, buildings are allowable up to 16 stories.
Joe Longoria, who ran uncontested for District 3, Post 1, was absent from the meeting and will be sworn in for his third term at the Jan. 17 meeting.