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City zoning board holds hearing on codes, land use

December 12, 2011

By STEVEN NALLEY
citybeat@bellsouth.net

The Starkville Planning and Zoning Commission will hold public hearings for the implementation of form-based codes drafted by Placemakers, LLC and for repealing and replacing the city’s current chart of permitted land uses.
The commission has spent several meetings and work sessions over the past few months discussing the two issues. The commission already held a public hearing on each issue at its Nov. 8 meeting, but no one came forward to comment.
Typically, the city’s planning and zoning commission sets rules for how property can be used in certain areas, including commercial, industrial and residential use. Form-based codes set more focused architectural guidelines in certain areas to encourage certain types of land use, allowing developers to build better projects with fewer administrative steps.
The new land use chart is intended to streamline the city’s chart of conditional and permitted land uses. The commission began this streamlining process when Placemakers prepared the first draft of its form-based codes without consulting the city’s current land-use chart, resulting in inconsistencies between the code draft and the chart. Placemakers’ current draft of the form-based codes uses the new land-use chart draft.
The commission will also consider a request from Cellular South Real Estate, Inc. to grant a variance for placement of a communications tower east of Pinelake Baptist Church. The proposed location is 1,790 feet from a residentially zoned district, so the company needs a variance from city code requiring communication towers to be no closer than 2,640 feet from the nearest residential zone. The variance is also the sole item on the agenda for a meeting of the Starkville Board of Adjustments and Appeals Wednesday.
In the staff report included in the meeting’s e-packet, Assistant City Planner Pamela Daniel says the criteria for variances from the code governing communication tower placement contains some support for the variance.
“To reduce or eliminate visual obtrusiveness, the height requested (120 feet) will minimize the profile of the tower to better blend in with the city’s landscape,” Daniel’s report says. “This location will best promote signal coverage to the surrounding targeted areas. The proposed communication tower is located approximately 550 feet from the nearest roadway and behind Pinelake Church.”
The commission will also consider:
u Approving a final plat from Frank Jones Development, LLC for Country Club Estates, Phase Two, located east of South Montgomery Street.
u Approving a final condominium plat from Boardtown Development for High Cotton at 509 Russell St.
u Approving a preliminary plat from the Crigler family for Brammelwood Apartments, Phase One on the western side of the Highway 25 bypass.

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