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Aldermen to hold hearings on yard sales, zoning rules

July 2, 2012

The Starkville Board of Aldermen will hold public hearings on amending non-conforming residential rebuilding requirements and regulating outdoor displays and yard sales at its 5:30 p.m. meeting today at City Hall.

The proposed change to the city’s current zoning ordinance would allow for structures damaged by fire or weather-related causes to be repaired or rebuilt despite not conforming to its zoning district.
If approved, property owners will be able to rebuild or repair their damaged buildings without having to ask the board for a conditional use permit.

Ward 5 Alderman Jeremiah Dumas referenced Ernest Minor, who received unanimous approval at the June 19 meeting to rebuild a structure at Summer Chase Apartments to replace one that burned earlier this year. Dumas said while he is sympathetic to property owners who need to rebuild a damaged or destroyed structure due to fire or weather-related events, he doesn’t believe the city’s current code should be altered just for those situations.

“I don’t like changing the ordinance for one project. (Minor) has been able to rebuild by getting a conditional use. I’m against allowing non-conforming uses to continue when there are very specific and strong zoning requirements we go by on a day-to-day basis,” Dumas said. “We don’t need to rewrite our zoning regulations just for one project so that projects despite their circumstance so projects can forgo due process.”

The public hearing on regulating outdoor displays is based on the city potentially adopting a new ordinance designed to establish standards for outside displays, yard sales and placement and storage of indoor furniture.

The proposed ordinance restricts residents from being able to have more than six yard sales per calendar year on their property and mandates that they obtain a permit from the city at least two days prior to the sale so it can be advertised on the city’s website.

Dumas said the ordinance was drafted to address specific areas in town where continuous display of indoor items is taking place and to allow establishments which are displaying items in a respectful manner to continue having those displays.

“There’s a couple of locations in town that are real eyesore and have continual storage of goods outside of the business,” Dumas said. “This ordinance is a way to address some of those specifically when indoor items are stored outdoors for an extended period of time. Some of our grocery stories have outdoor equipment that is being stored in a respectful matter, but when you have indoor items that are left out overnight and rained on it becomes a problem. That’s obviously something we would like to deter as much as possible because that takes away from the quality of the neighborhood and surrounding environment. We also want people to come to City Hall and let us know when they’re having a yard sale so we can put it on the city website.”

Also on the agenda is requests for approving construction and installation of water pipes and fire hydrants so the city’s public service department can proceed with the first phase of the Northeast Starkville Fire Protection Distribution Project. Public Services Director Doug Devlin said the pipe installation is necessary so five fire hydrants can be installed in an area annexed by the city in 1998.

“Our fire department only operates with pumper trucks. We’re putting fire hydrants in the area so (Starkville) Fire Department will have everything they need in place to use their pumping trucks,” Devlin said.

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