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City to consider accessory structure rules

October 3, 2011

By STEVEN NALLEY
citybeat@bellsouth.net

The Starkville Board of Aldermen will consider planning a public hearing on a proposed ordinance which would set new standards for accessory structures at its meeting Tuesday at City Hall.
The board will also hear a presentation requesting Westside Drive be made into a one-way street and consider multiple zoning-related items.
On Aug. 2, the board authorized City Planner Ben Griffith to research and develop requirements for accessory structures. The proposal came from Ward 5 Alderman Jeremiah Dumas, who said it was not in the city’s best interests to allow people to buy such temporary structures as storage buildings, put them on commercial property and use them as primary centers of business.
“Giggleswick went out recently and developed their business into a nice property on Highway 12,” Dumas said during the Aug. 2 meeting. “All the while, we as a city are allowing their neighbor, immediately to the east, to move into the parking lot where an ice structure was, put in a storage unit, build a deck and a ramp up to the thing, and do so and it be a primary source of business. I think it’s laughable that we as a community allow that.”
Two months later, an ordinance draft up for discussion would, among other regulations, prevent accessory structures from being used as dwelling units or commercial business establishments. No more than two accessory structures would be allowed on any parcel, and with the exception of tents, they would have to blend aesthetically with primary structures.
“My intention (during the Aug. 2 board meeting) was to ask city staff to research and report back on what our options are,” Dumas said. “At this point in time, I haven’t reviewed the ordinance myself and am anxious to see its first draft. I think it will be telling to the city to see what the public has to say.”
The board will also hear a presentation from Turner Purnell, who will make a case for turning Westside Drive into a one-way street to allow for streetside parking. Purnell said when the city recently banned streetside parking and painted a double yellow line on Westside Drive, it not only took away parking for visitors, but it also made a street with no sidewalks unsafe for pedestrians.
“The speeding has tremendously picked up since nothing’s parked out there,” Purnell said. “It’s just like taking the street out of the neighborhood and putting a highway in it. To me, if the city’s not going to spend money to widen the street out ... then why not make it a one-way?”
The board agenda’s e-packet, available at http://www.cityofstarkville.org, features a map of homes the proposal would impact, created by Terry Kemp, general manager of the Starkville Electric Department. It says there are 85 homes whose owners must use Westside Drive to get home and 125 homes whose owners can currently use Westside Drive to get home but would have to use alternative routes under the proposal.
Currently, the board is not slated to act on Purnell’s proposal. Lynn Spruill, chief administrative officer for Starkville, said this map will allow the board to make an informed decision about the proposal.
“What you have to look at is the entire number of homes that would be affected,” Spruill said. “You’ve got (85 homes) that would have no choice but to go one direction.”
Zoning items on the board agenda include Michael Kraker’s request for approval to re-zone property from R-1 (residential) to PUD (planned unit development) for a pocket neighborhood on the north side of the recent extension of East Garrard Road. Finally, the board will consider holding a public hearing on zoning, proximity and signage issues related to “payday loan” businesses within the city of Starkville.
The board will also:
u Hear a reminder from Starkville Mayor Parker Wiseman that capital improvement plan documents must be in by Oct. 11 to allow government consultants to prepare the documents for the next board meeting on Oct. 18.
u Consider approval of a memorandum of understanding between the city of Starkville, Oktibbeha County, Mississippi State University and the Greater Starkville Development Partnership to form a consortium to apply for the Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant Program, administered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
u Consider approving a contract with the Mississippi Heritage Trust Executive Director David Preziosi to prepare historic preservation guidelines for Starkville’s historic districts.
u Hear a report from Doug Devlin, head of public services, on the status of sewer system improvements throughout the city.
u Hear a report on a development process for form-based codes.
u Hear a presentation from the Starkville Fire Department on the Pink Heals Tour, scheduled for Oct. 17 with activities at the Sportsplex and around town.

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