By KELLY DANIELS
For nearly a year, Starkville has asked payday lenders thinking about locating here to set up shop somewhere else.
The Starkville Board of Aldermen will consider today a continuation of the ban to last until the end of 2011 or until officials finish the city’s comprehensive plan.
The board will meet at 5:30 p.m. in the courtroom at City Hall on Lampkin Street.
In January of this year, the aldermen unanimously approved the ban after rapid development of fast-loan agencies grew to about 20 inside the city.
“This is obviously not a permanent solution to this issue,” said Vice Mayor Sandra Sistrunk, about banning future quick-lenders.
“We were hoping that by this time, we’d be further along in completing the comprehensive plan.”
Sidewalk law exemption hearings begin
In other business, the board will hold its first public hearing on identifying “specific areas for an exemption from the requirement for sidewalks,” according to today’s agenda.
The proposed revision to the city’s ordinance mandating sidewalks as part of future development exempts the city’s industrial park, which residents say pedestrians use to get to work, from those requirements: “Industrial Park Road from Pollard to Miley Road; Miley Road from Industrial Park Road to Airport Road; Airport Road from Miley Road to Pollard Road and Pollard Road from Airport Road to Industrial Park Road.”
While some officials argue that the proposal is a dangerous knee-jerk reaction to the threat of the Golden Triangle Planning and Development District leaving Oktibbeha County if subjected to the sidewalk law, others say that the city is legally allowed to grant such exceptions.
The city’s Transportation Committee has already held two public hearings on granting a variance to the city’s sidewalk ordinance with a 7-1 majority of those attending opposed to exempting the industrial park.
Earlier this month, Ward 7 Alderman Henry Vaughn made the motion to call for the public hearing, which was approved by a 4-3 vote. Ward 6 Alderman Roy Á. Perkins seconded the motion.
Before that vote took place, Mayor Parker Wiseman warned he would veto board approval to exempt the industrial park from the sidewalk ordinance regulations.
Other agenda items
The board will also consider a number of other items including the following;
• Advertising for letters of interest for the Starkville School District Board of Trustees appointment with a term beginning on March 3, 2011 and ending on March 8, 2016. The appointment is succeed outgoing school board member Bill Weeks, who has served more than 20 years.
• Appointing Mitchell, McNutt, and Sams to represent Starkville for legal services required for a Community Development Block Grant going toward the Cotton Mill Marketplace development.
• An appeal by Frank Jones of the board’s denial of his request to allow 33 parking spaces in lieu of the 40 minimally required for a proposed multi-family residential development in zoning in a C-2 general business district.
• Filling a vacant position within the Starkville Fire Department.
Complete copies of the agenda are available for download from the city’s website at http://www.cityofstarkville.org  or may be picked up from the City Hall receptionist’s desk prior to the start of the meeting.
The agenda is subject to amendment by the board at the outset of tonight’s meeting.