An outdoor music venue in Alpharetta wants to move to Milton.
And Milton’s City Council might give the venue’s owner and the owner of the potential property a hand in making that happen.
Matilda’s Music Under the Pines, which has hosted concerts on its porch at 531 South Main Street in Alpharetta for 15 years, wants to move to a plot of land on Hickory Flat Road in Milton. The property the venue currently sits on in Alpharetta was sold and is going to be redeveloped for single-family homes.
The hurdle in moving Matilda’s to Milton is that the desired land at Hickory Flat Road is not zoned for such a venue. It’s currently zoned for agricultural and community business.
At its meeting on Monday, the Milton city council will vote on whether to grant a use permit and variances for the property, making it possible to be the new home for Matilda’s.
Now, what is a use permit?
A use permit is a zoning technique that essentially allows a local governing body to override how a property is zoned so that it may be used for essential or desirable purposes. It gives the city of Milton some flexibility when it comes to land use and complying with ordinances.
Curtis Mills is the property owner of the 6.5 acres on Hickory Flat Road. It is the home of Buice’s General Store, which used to house Wilbur & Rudy’s Coffee Café, and a parking lot.
Under the city’s planning commission’s recommendation, Matilda’s would operate Friday’s and Saturday’s from 7 to 11 p.m., April 1 through Oct. 31. Attendance will be capped at 300 guests and performances will be limited to six per month.
The proposal submitted to the city of Milton says Matilda’s typically hosts “Nashville-based” acts, with performer’s styles ranging across country, bluegrass, folk and blues. The music is typically acoustic and performed in the open air. Attendees typically bring their own food and chairs, and the events are advertised as “family friendly.”
The owner of Matilda’s is Mary Jane Potter, and she intends to move the entire “Hen House” to the Milton property. Bands typically perform on the side porch of that, which is about 213 square feet. She hopes to expand the house, making it 693 square feet. The interior is used as storage and as a prep room for musicians.
More than 5,000 people have signed an online petition to “Help Save Matilda’s.” Potter wrote on the Change.org post that moving Matilda’s from Alpharetta to Milton “has become political football” and that some “self-proclaimed citizen advocates” think that bringing Matilda’s to Milton will be akin to bringing the Verizon Amphitheater to the north Fulton County city. That venue, also in Alpharetta, is much larger than Matilda’s, as it seats up to 12,000 people.
The city posted a FAQ about Matilda’s on its Facebook page, and no resident opposed the idea of it in the comment section. Sixteen people liked it as of Friday morning. One person asked about how it might affect traffic in the area and another person wrote, “Unique gem for the community. Approve it!”
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