The Crescent Resources apartment double standard in Milton

The apartments at Avalon will be first class. Apartment developer AMLI wanted to put upscale apartments on Westside Parkway. Additionally, AMLI’s new Mansell Road community features granite counter tops, stainless steel appliances and LEED certified buildings.

Nearly every new, planned or renovated apartment community in this area is being developed and promoted as upscale. AMLI wanted so much to prove this fact that they twice invited this blogger on a tour of their newest community.

So why then is apartment developer Crescent Resources saying the City of Milton “denied the opportunity to have an appropriate, affordable residence” in the city? They accuse the city of violating the Georgia Fair Housing Act.

View Crescent Resources apartments in a larger map

Over the summer Crescent asked to build apartments on a tract of land along Deerfield Parkway. The city of Milton narrowly turned down the request. Last week Crescent sued Milton in Fulton County court.

Mike Petchenik with WSBtv ran a story on this in a 4:00 newscast. The AJC did a big spread on the story this past Saturday but it isn’t available online. Local north Fulton media has not covered this story at all. Disappointing. But back to the apartments…

Is Crescent Resources trying to have it both ways with their apartments? Certainly no developer in their right mind would approach a city in this area with the intention of building lower-end apartments. And Milton certainly wouldn’t want to put them here, in an area awash with apartments and condos. The beleaguered Manning Oaks school district definitely doesn’t need the addition of these apartments (a controversial topic covered in this blog last year).

Or perhaps Crescent is playing to their audience. Their lawsuit was filed in a Fulton County court in Atlanta. Perhaps the affordable housing argument will play better there. Either way, this is laughable.

This parcel of land is no stranger to controversy. Two years ago Crescent wanted the land zoned for a special needs school. That zoning passed over some opposition. And a portion of the land is zoned for a data center that Global Payments was eying. Both would be better uses for the property. Additionally, the recently-completed Highway 9 LCI study identified this property as having an activity center with road connectivity to the Fry’s shopping center along Highway 9.

The AJC article thought this would be Milton’s first big test of their land use plans. The real question is – does Milton have the courage to fight this and the willingness to spend money to do so? They rolled over when the Bethany Bend gas station sued over a denied zoning. And is their zoning code strong enough to defend a much more serious challenge?

Were this to happen in Alpharetta there would be no question – the city would fight. After all, Alpharetta is willing to go toe-to-toe with the US Justice Department to deny some people of faith their request to expand. It’s an interesting contrast.

Prediction – the cash-strapped new city will not want to spend the money fighting this case. They will quickly cave under the pressure. This will embolden developers to bring more apartments to the city, especially considering the lockdown on apartments next door in Alpharetta.

Milton has little remaining land in their business and commercial corridor. They cannot accord for it to be developed residential (as Alpharetta is doing along GA-400). The young city should reexamine their code so as to give their council protection in cases like this apartment denial.

5 Responses to “The Crescent Resources apartment double standard in Milton”

  1. Brian Davis October 19, 2012 at 10:52 am #

    Once again Lee, please go back to Forsyth County.

    As a lifelong Milton resident #1 we have plenty of empty land in the Hwy 9 corridor for commercial use and #2 with apartments at 96-98% occupancy, we need more units, especially in the Deerfield corridor.

    Going to court in Fulton County (sorry the county where most of us live, not you) is the way you resolve disputes. Its very common for cities to be sued by developers after botched zonings.

    The apartments will be built, they will be nice and Milton will continue to improve.

  2. Lee October 19, 2012 at 5:06 pm #

    Thanks Brian. I can always count on you for a warm and neighborly greeting. I hope you don’t treat all visitors to your city this way.

    I mentioned the court in Atlanta because of the developer’s double standard on these apartments. The developer will describe them differently in Milton’s city hall versus a courtroom in Atlanta.

    I agree with you that the apartments will ultimately be approved – your city will not fight this. I disagree that Milton has plenty of empty commercial land. It would benefit the city’s tax base for what’s left to remain commercial uses and not residential. But thankfully I don’t have to pay taxes in Milton, so I’ll enjoy my lower rates in Forsyth.

  3. David October 19, 2012 at 8:08 pm #

    Great. My property value has already taken a hit like everyone else. More apartments will not help that. I live off of Deerfield Pkwy. in the only subdivision that has houses. I hate to say it but I’ve lived in enough apartments to know what most bring. Not the least of which is an enormous amount of traffic. The 400/Windward and Deerfield/Windward intersections are already ridiculous most mornings and after work.
    I hate to sound insensitive to those living in apartments but it is a fact that crime, traffic, lower property values, and lowering of the schools are all results of the presence of apartments.

  4. Travis Allen October 20, 2012 at 9:23 am #

    As another lifelong Milton resident, I don’t see the need / want for these apartments.

    I’ll disagree with Brian that there is plenty of land in the Hwy 9 corridor as most of the land where commercial would go, it already has. However, I will add that there is additional land over on other side of the city along Arnold Mill.

    Just because apartments are at near capacity doesn’t mean we need more…I’ll argue the opposite, it makes the values increase for those of us that already own property and I tend to like that. Adding more apartments benefits nobody that already lives here, but it does cause additional traffic on the area roads.

    Commercial/Office in that area is more desirable.

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