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Board to discuss corporate housing

October 9, 2012

The Starkville Planning and Zoning Commission will discuss plans for the Thad Cochran Research Park’s first corporate housing complex and several final plats for other residential complexes at its meeting at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall.

Clyde Pritchard will make a conditional use request to allow corporate housing in the northwest corner of the research park’s planned office (P-O) zone. This complex, called 300 Traditions, would offer 40 residences, each with 800 square feet, two bedrooms and two bathrooms.

Other features listed in Pritchard’s plans for 300 Traditions include dedicated, covered electric vehicle parking spaces, covered rear porches and a lighted, floating fountain. City Planner Ben Griffith said the complex will be the first of its kind in the research park or Starkville as a whole if the Starkville Board of Aldermen approves it at the zoning commission’s recommendation.

“The intent is to provide short-term space for people who come here from out of town to do research,” Griffith said. “Some of them come here from overseas and don’t drive. If they need to get into town, they have the shuttle they run for international students and other people that don’t have a car. A lot of research and technology parks have residential components, and (Pritchard) felt like now might be the appropriate time to move forward with that.”

OCEDA President Jack Wallace said he, too, believes the time is right. Corporate housing is an element OCEDA has wanted since it created the research park in the 1980s, he said, but the park’s business and research incubators had to come first.

“It’s not like living units that you rent or sell to just anybody,” Wallace said. “To develop a park and immediately have that available ... you’ve got to have time for the research park to develop clientele before you have demand for the living units.”

Wallace said he and other OCEDA members visited the Research Triangle Park in North Carolina in the late 2000s, and that visit rekindled interest in a corporate housing complex for Starkville’s own research park.

“We observed that (Research Triangle Park) not only had places to live — they had restaurants; they had a library; they had all kinds of recreational facilities,” Wallace said. “It became very clear these places were really striving to be places you live, work and play in. We’re trying to create that atmosphere in our research park. We were delighted to have someone willing to bring in these corporate living units that will be one step toward meeting that goal.”

The commission will also discuss final plats for the Myrtle Creek subdivision at the northeastern corner of Lynn Lane and Victory Lane and for two phases of Reed Place subdivision on Reed Road. The commission approved a preliminary Reed Place plat in August 2011, which applicant Garry Hughes revised from a 2010 plat when he found Native American artifacts during his site investigation.

Another final plat on the agenda is the second phase of the Annabella subdivision at the intersection of South Montgomery Street and Yellow Jacket Drive. Griffith said in his report that City Engineer Edward Kemp was concerned about potential vehicular conflicts related to the two phases’ access points, and Kemp recommends aligning the driveway for the first parcel with Vine Street and aligning the second parcel’s driveway with Annabella Street’s south entrance.

“This development pattern will create the least number of vehicular conflicts,” Griffith said in his report. “With the amount of traffic that Yellow Jacket Drive currently receives, having staggering driveway access points for developments, which could generate many trips per day, would create a more dangerous condition for not only the vehicles entering and exiting the developments, but also the pass-through traffic, as opposed to driveways which align with existing, established vehicular access points.”

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