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Milton, Alpharetta Residents Want GA 9 to Look Different Than Deerfield, Windward

LCI study reveals residents prefer passive recreation such as trails and greenways over ball fields and playgrounds.

Milton and Alpharetta residents had another chance Thursday night at to tell the cities' planners how they want to see the Highway 9-Deerfield Parkway area develop in the next 10 to 20 years.

The more than 500 residents who have taken part in the Georgia 9 Livable Centers Initiative (LCI) study so far have definite opinions on what should be done.

The idea is to figure out "how do we shape our communities over the next five to 10 years in a way that's positive and meets the needs of the citizens," said Eric Bosman of Urban Collage, the consultant on the project.

Bosman said the consultants quickly learned from local residents in October 2010 that "You can't treat Windward and Deerfield the same way you treat Highway 9."

The Deerfield-Windward area should be a walkable, village environment, while Highway 9 should have retail centers. But those must have a unique character that would favor landscaping over seas of parking spaces.

Bosman said they are using existing planning, transportation and recreation studies as they work on the LCI study. They want to know what are the types of things the community wants, and what it doesn't want to encourage for the area.

The LCI study is a joint project of Milton and Alpharetta, as it includes land in both cities. 

For more about the LCI study and more comments, watch the video that accompanies this story.

"We are looking at a much more modest pace going forward, which is a good thing for communities that are looking to be very guarded, and protect their quality of life," Bosman said.

Preferences were strong for open, passive recreation spaces in the study area. Residents would rather see trails such as a greenway than any active recreation areas such as playgrounds and ball fields.

Tara Chambers of Milton lives within the LCI study area. She said she's skeptical about the whole process.

"I don't think Highway 9 has been given a lot of attention. Definitely it didn't have a lot of attention when it was Fulton County. And since it's become Milton I don't think we've been given much attention. I'm hoping for the best, but I'm not too optimistic," she said.

Chambers was definite on what she think needs to be done along Hwy. 9.

"I think the high density housing needs to stop. And we need to concentrate on getting higher quality retail in there," she said.

The cities need to help retailers come into the area and be successful, Chambers said, which could be more sidewalks and a nicer atmosphere, which is what people of Milton want and expect. She'd like to see them come to the area, do some shopping and stay for dinner, maybe go to a movie.

"I'm not saying I want a huge movie theater, but just that kind of feel. Make it an area where people from over in Birmingham Crossroads come and stay for a few hours," she said.

The presentation will be posted online by next week. The next public meeting will be Feb. 15, again at Milton City Hall.

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