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Officials postpone consideration of street amendment

November 20, 2011

By STEVEN NALLEY
citybeat@bellsouth.net

At its meeting Nov. 15, The Starkvile Board of Aldermen postponed consideration of adopting an amendment to city code which would allow subdivision developers to choose to build streets in a single phase instead of being restricted to two-phase construction.
Currently, crews can only complete the bottom layer of asphalt at the first phase of construction, and they must wait until the houses are 80-85 percent complete before they can add the top layer. The amendment would allow crews to complete the road all at once, while still allowing them the option to build it in two phases if desired.
While the scheduled public hearing for the amendment continued as planned, Starkville Mayor Parker Wiseman said action on the proposed amendment will wait until the next regular meeting in December. Wiseman said the action item was deleted because of legal advice from City Attorney Chris Latimer.
“Since this matter involves a change to our subdivision regulations, we are required by state statute to serve written notice in the newspaper of any potential changes,” Wiseman said. “After tonight’s second public hearing, the board policy of having two public hearings will have been satisfied. We will then legally notice this matter. Under state statute, the board can properly consider this at the next board meeting.”
Latimer then said he advised the board to hold a third public hearing at the next regular meeting to give the public one more chance to comment on the amendment before it passes or fails.
As before, the only citizen commenting during the second public hearing was Alvin Turner, who once again said he was concerned about large public service vehicles such as ambulances accessing areas marked with “no trucks allowed” signs.
The board did vote unanimously to rescind a decision it made Aug. 2 to install traffic signal lights at intersections of Garrard Road and North Montgomery Street, and Garrard Road and Old West Point Road. City Engineer Edward Kemp presented the results of a traffic study Wiseman commissioned Aug. 2, and Kemp recommended the city install either four-way or two-way stops at the intersections instead of traffic signals based on the results of the study, but the board’s action item for the meeting only pertained to whether or not to have traffic signals.
The board also approved a pubic hearing for amending the Starkville code to provide additional locations for and different hours for street peddlers. Ward 5 Alderman Jeremiah Dumas said he asked for the item to be placed on the agenda and proposed the changes.
Dumas said the biggest change the amendment would enact is to allow peddlers to sell from any parking space on a public right-of-way so long as they do not impede use of adjacent parking spaces, giving them access to main roads without allowing them to block traffic. The amendment also strikes language which restricts peddling on Sunday, he said, replacing it with a restriction on door-to-door peddling between 30 minutes before sunset and 9 a.m.
“The one and only reason that I did this was not to restrict, but to actually increase one’s ability to sell goods in the city,” Dumas said. “It relates specifically to food carts and food trucks. As it stands right now, we restrict one’s ability to sell food within a truck or within a cart within our public right-of-way. There are a couple of instances across town where they’re doing so on private property where they’re granted access. I think anyone who travels and anyone who watches enough TV probably recognizes that your more urban, your growing and your progressive cities are encouraging food carts, and they’re becoming more and more popular.”
The board also approved a contract of approximately $1.7 million with Gregory Construction for the Louisville Street widening project. The contract price was above of the city’s budget for the project by $106,610.85, but the board agreed to pull the extra money from other city projects for the previous fiscal year which had run under budget.
Finally, Ward 3 Alderman Eric Parker announced a public presentation on the traffic study of South Montgomery commissioned by the city. Parker said the presentation will take place in the upstairs meeting room of the Starkville Sportsplex on Dec. 5 at 5:30, giving the public an opportunity to comment on the project.

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