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Transition issues for city staff table church’s request

November 14, 2012


The Starkville Planning and Zoning Commission tabled discussion of a roundabout on Lafayette Street and other developments brought forward by First Baptist Church when interim city planner Lynn Spruill raised concerns about the corresponding planner’s report.

The proposal would place a roundabout on Lafayette Street between FBC’s existing outreach center and a new children’s building also on the proposal, which would have stronger Americans with Disabilities Act compliance than the current FBC children’s building.

When the commission asked Spruill to give the planner’s report on FBC’s proposal, she then asked the commission to table the item.

“(That way), the staff can go back and flesh out some of the things I noted that … I perceive to be a little bit of an oversight,” Spruill said. “I am sort of new to this and did not get into it as the background information was being provided, and (Former City Planner Ben) Griffith was providing it as he was leaving, so I think we have some gaps there that need to be addressed.”

Griffith left the city staff for a new planning position in another state in October, and the city has given interim planning duties to Spruill, who is also Starkville’s chief administrative officer, until the vacancy is resolved. On hearing Spruill’s request, commission chair Jerry Emison asked City Attorney Chris Latimer for his advice.

“It’s very important to have the a clean factual record for the city’s determination,” Latimer said, “and to the extent the city planner feels like the facts in the staff report are either incomplete or ambiguous or need to be clarified to such an extent that she recommends the board or commission not act tonight, I would certainly be in accordance with her on a recommendation to table the matter.”

Commissioner Dora Herring was absent, and Commissioner James Hicks recused himself from the vote to table the matter, citing a personal connection with the applicant. A motion to table the matter passed unanimously, and Spruill said a more complete report should be ready in time for the commission’s next regular meeting.

The commission also unanimously recommended city approval of a preliminary plat for a Dollar General near the intersection of Miss. Highway 389, also known as North Jackson Street, and Garrard Road. The commission briefly discussed concerns about access to the lot related to plans the city and the Mississippi Department of Transportation have made to improve road safety in the area, but it ultimately decided those concerns were unrelated to the preliminary plat.

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