MILTON — The Milton City Council has voted to accept changes to the Comprehensive Master Plan protecting downtown Milton.
Added language focuses on historic preservation. "The City of Milton values the historic character of its downtown area and desires to protect those resources from the adverse effects of any future roadway improvement," the revised plan states.
The Milton Planning Board on Dec. 12 recommended that the council reject protecting the historic district from U.S. Highway 90 improvements; they said such improvements, among the Florida Department of Transportation’s options to alleviate U.S. 90 traffic, do the historic district the least harm.
The council voted Oct. 10 to accept language specifically protecting historic elements from future roadway improvements on U.S. 90 in downtown Milton.
FDOT’s proposal to widen U.S. 90 sparked several comments from residents during the Jan. 9 council meeting.
George Jordan said he conducted a door-to-door survey in Milton, asking residents if they want U.S. 90 four-laned. He said he found between 50 to 1 and 100 to 1 in favor.
Vernon Compton said a city survey showed 65 percent of respondents favored an option other than four-laning and 5,000 respondents to a Main Street Milton petition against four-laning.
Theresa Messick, who lives in the historic district, favors four-laning, saying the only affected building would be the Fisher Hamilton building, which would have to be moved south 60 feet.
Ricky Downs said he spoke with an FDOT representative, who said their plan to widen U.S. 90 to Stewart Street would make two lanes through downtown unsafe. "The downtown area can’t bottleneck that much traffic and be safe," he said.
Claude Duvall said he’s lived in East Milton 35 years and has served as the president of the East Milton Water System and the East Milton Fire Department. "People are upset four-laning is not happening yet," he said.
Milton Planning Director Randy Jorgenson said the agenda item was about voting for transmittal of the amended comprehensive plan. "What you are considering is simply the transmittal of a proposed ordinance that would amend the text of the comprehensive plan with the language that has been described previously," he said.
State and county organizations receiving the plan will have 30 days to respond to the amendment and then comment before an adoption hearing in February.
FDOT will release findings of its Project Development and Environment study in February, he said, investigating alternatives into relieving U.S. 90 traffic. FDOT will hold a public hearing April 17, according to FDOT Project Manager Peggy Kelley, presenting those findings.
Councilwoman Pat Lunsford said the city should wait to vote on the plan until review of FDOT's study, but only Sharon Holley voted with her.