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Reopening of road entrances to Green Oaks on city agenda

September 17, 2012

The Starkville Board of Aldermen will consider reopening the western entrances of Douglas McArthur Drive, Redbud Drive and Maple Drive at its meeting 5:30 today in the City Hall courtroom.

The board ordered the entrances from Stark Road to be closed off in 1999 when it was determined there was too high a volume of traffic using them.

A resolution to repeal and replace that measure in the board’s e-packet states that since the closings, the closures have presented an obstacle for first responders in providing timely and potentially critical life-saving emergency service to residents of the Green Oaks subdivision. The resolution also references the 400 residents of the Green Oaks subdivision and states having only three points of entry and departure for all those people, “… does not serve the neighborhood in the most efficient and effective manner.”

The resolution also states that the development of alternate routes, such as the openings of the Miss. Highway 25 and State Highway 82 bypasses for easterly travel to the Mississippi State University campus, has helped reduce congestion from Stark Road.

The Green Oaks subdivision is located in Ward 1, which is under Alderman Ben Carver’s jurisdiction. He said passing the resolution would “lower the integrity of the neighborhood from a safety standpoint.”

“Heck no. No way,” Carver said when asked if he would support reopening the three roads. “I’ve had about 97 calls against it and one for it.

There is a history of this. It’s been open before but it has got lots of problems with people speeding and using that as a thoroughfare instead of treating it like a residential area.”

Carver said more drivers should take advantage of the alternate routes that have been established since 1999 instead of using neighborhood roads as shortcuts.

“I’ve heard the complaints of traffic and people who could cut through and get to class, but they can use 182 and people aren’t using the bypass, which is a straight shot with no lights,” Carver said. “I know several people who do it that way and it’s a whole lot quicker than getting on 12. That’s what the bypass is created for. The solution is not to open up these streets as a thoroughfare.”

There are gates at the Stark Road side of the three roads where emergency responders can activate a gate to open so they can respond to emergencies more quickly, nullifying the resolution’s statement on the need for reopening the entrances for them, Carver said.

“They put gates down there that are sitting on a decibel reading system so if a police car or a fire truck pulls up, what they do is put their siren on … the gate opens and if they need to access it … they can do it,” he said.

Carver said he expects and encourages public input from residents of Green Oaks.

“I don’t know why (the board is) doing this because people are irate.

I’ve gotten more calls about this than probably anything I’ve ever had,” Carver said. “I would understand if there was a need and you were trying to satisfy a public need, but this is coming out of nowhere.”

Despite the subdivision being in Carver’s ward, the person to contact for more information in the e-packet is listed as Ward 6 Alderman Roy A. Perkins. Calls to Perkins were not returned as of press time.

In other business, the board will hold its second public hearing on and consider approval of the proposed fiscal year 2012-13 budget.

The budget has an anticipated revenue of $16,841,982, $12,415 short of the projected 2011-12 budget of $16,889,397 but $450,101 more than the initial anticipated 2011-12 budget as it was approved last year.

Ad valorem taxes will account for $3,922,500, or 23.3 percent of the budget — a $10,000 (or one-tenth of a percent) increase from the 2011-2012 ad valorem amount of $3,912,500.

The budget does not involve an increase in millage. The millage rate for Starkville residents imposed by the city is 20.

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