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Zoning panel recommends plat approval

April 12, 2011

By PAUL SIMS
sdnnews@bellsouth.net

A preliminary plat for a proposed four-unit residential development in the Cotton District will go on to the Board of Aldermen for their consideration as early as next week.
Starkville’s Planning and Zoning Commission decided Tuesday to recommend aldermen approve the plat for High Cotton, located on a 0.26-acre lot on Russell Street across from the Cotton Crossing Shopping Center.
Commissioner Jason Walker recommended the developer draw the 24-foot driveway down to 20 feet to allow four feet to be added to the proposed sidewalk, leaving a “much nicer kind of entry port there.”
Thomas Allen, an engineer and surveyor with Pritchard Engineering, replied that City Engineer Edward Kemp wanted the width to remain 24 feet “since it was two-way.”
“That’s as wide as Russell Street,” Walker replied.
Commissioner Jeremy Murdock asked why the setbacks between the proposed project and its neighbor were different.
City Planner Ben Griffith responded that the neighboring development is a planned unit development, where project officials can define their own setbacks.
High Cotton meets the setback standards for its zoning class, Griffith said.
On March 23, the city’s Board of Adjustment and Appeals granted a density variance for the project, which is located in a R-5 high-density, multi-family zoning district.
As proposed, High Cotton surpassed the city’s maximum dwelling units standard of 15 with a figure of 15.38 units per acre.
The item moves forward with several recommendations, including the removal of a note regarding a 10-foot sewer easement. The project will receive city water and staff recommended mentions of water connections be removed from the plat. City officials also ask that a note about the density variance approval be added to the final plat.
The matter will likely be taken up at the Board of Aldermen’s meeting Tuesday.
In an unrelated matter, the commission decided by consent to try out for two months a dual approach to receiving materials in advance of meetings – electronically and in print.
One commissioner, Ira Loveless, said he still recycles a good bit of paper despite e-mail being billed as a cost saving.
“My biggest friend right now is a three-foot springboard container that’s got a City of Starkville green recycling bag in it that I manage to fill up once a week from all this reduction in paper,” Loveless said.
He added that a way to save money on such items as plat maps would be to have commissioners pass on their copies to aldermen once they are done with them.
Murdock said he was “very supportive” of the electronic packet approach.
“The plats and things like that may be easier printed,” he said, adding if it was a matter of volunteering he would elect the electronic version.
Commissioner Dora Herring expressed concerns about electronic archiving “unless we are very careful about double copies.”
Griffith said city staff maintain paper archives. Regulations about electronic archiving are probably coming, he said.
Commissioners heard Griffith say the terms of service for Loveless and Commissioner John Moore will expire June 30. They are eligible for another term if they choose. Members of the zoning panel serve six year terms.

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