Milton Voters Approve Annexation Referendum

By a 397-86 margin, Milton voters approved a referendum annexing 50 acres of land at Shingle Point Road and Harbeson Road that is expected to be developed as a 163-unit residential community known as Scarlet Oaks.

All told, 360 residents voted to approve via machine vote, with 37 in favor via absentee ballot; 74 residents voted no on the machine vote, while 12 opposed via absentee ballot. 

With the annexation approved via referendum, the developers of Scarlet Oaks will now be able to move forward with preliminary site-plan review by the planning and zoning commission. 

The proposed Scarlet Oaks development would comprise single-family attached and detached homes, and also have a clubhouse and recreation area with walking paths through the development, which would be zoned R-1 residential with a large-parcel development overlay. Buffers are planned along Harbeson Road and Shingle Point Road. 

The large-parcel development overlay allows for flexibility in terms of home design, setbacks, pedestrian access and potential light commercial uses, but no commercial uses are proposed. Tim Willard, attorney for Ribera Development, said at council’s Nov. 6 meeting that his client intends to pursue a special development district, not unlike the one the council recently approved for the Granary at Draper Farm development. 

The annexation of Scarlet Oaks has been an ongoing process for more than two years. The annexation petition was first filed in late 2021, and was handed off to the town’s special review committee in early 2022. Just as the committee was about to wrap up its work and make a recommendation to move forward with the annexation to town council, the project was paused due to legal action between the property owners. 

That legal action lasted for a year, and was resolved in July 2023 and the annexation moved forward, with the planning and zoning commission issuing its report in favor of the annexation. Council took a final vote on the petition in December, which opened up a 30-day window for citizens to file a petition that would put the question to voters in a public referendum. More than 100 signatures were received, representing more than 10% of Milton registered voters, forcing the referendum.