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Zoning agenda packed with First Baptist requests

February 11, 2013

The Starkville Planning and Zoning Commission will consider nine requests from Pryor and Morrow Architects on behalf of First Baptist Church concerning land use at its 5:30 p.m. meeting Tuesday in the City Hall courtroom.

FBC-related items on the agenda include four rezoning requests, four requests to use parcels for parking and one request to allow a child care center in a transect district on Lafayette Street. The agenda also holds five more items, including recommending a new official zoning districts map for the Starkville Board of Aldermen’s approval.

Roger Pryor, an architect with Pryor and Morrow working with FBC, said the nine requests are the latest step in a process that began Sept. 19.

Since 1838, FBC has grown from 13 members to 1,800 members, making such extensive planning necessary to expand FBC’s facilities.

“What you might say is, we’re doing some housekeeping now,” Pryor said.

“We’re trying to get the property zoned to have some uniformity and to comply with the intent of the transect district. The subject property has three different zones in it (currently), and it becomes very complicated because of that. We’ve worked hand-in-glove with the city planning department, and Mayor (Parker) Wiseman supports our proposal.”

Wiseman said he has visited with Pryor on several occasions in the past several months, receiving continual updates on FBC’s plans. He said he believes FBC’s efforts to redevelop its downtown properties will serve the city well in the future.

“It’s a good project, and I am excited about one of our churches having the opportunity to expand,” Wiseman said. “Churches are an integral part of the quality of life offered in a community and an important part of the downtown experience.”

The rezoning requests would convert property on the west side of South Lafayette Street and south of Lampkin Street from a residential zone into a transect district, convert two properties on South Washington Street from residential zones into buffer zones and convert one transect district on Lafayette Street into a buffer zone. The parking requests apply to three lots on South Washington Street and one lot on South Lafayette Street.

Absent from the agenda is a roundabout Pryor and Morrow had previously brought before the city as a means to slow traffic, making it safer to walk between the proposed child care center and FBC’s current outreach center. Pryor said he does not anticipate the roundabout appearing before the zoning commission again.

“We took it off the table,” Pryor said. “It’s not a zoning issue, so it’s not an issue we need to take up with the planning and zoning (commission).”

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