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City to hold third public hearing on form-based codes

January 16, 2012

By NATHAN GREGORY
sdnreporter@yahoo.com

The Starkville Board of Aldermen will hold its third public hearings for and likely take votes on the repealing and replacing of the chart of permitted uses as well as amending the city zoning map by means of a prepared form-based code during its 5:30 p.m. meeting today at City Hall.
The board will also evaluate requests for qualification submissions sent from five firms offering to assist the city in its redistricting process.
If passed, replacing the chart of permitted uses would revise land-use definitions which are at least 40 years old while the ordinance amending the city zoning map would include transect districts for areas including portions of Highway 182, Main Street, University Drive, Lampkin Street and Russell Street.
Starkville Mayor Parker Wiseman, Ward 2 Alderman Sandra Sistrunk and Ward 5 Alderman Jeremiah Dumas said they anticipate the board will make decisions on both issues.
“(Replacing the chart) will be eligible for adoption, and I anticipate the board will vote on it. Given the discussion that has taken place to date, I think it has a strong chance of passing,” Wiseman said. “Those two matters are very much connected. I would anticipate how the board chooses to vote on one of those matters is a strong indicator on how it will vote on the other.”
“In both cases I hope we have sufficiently discussed enough to have a product the board can vote affirmatively on,” Sistrunk said. “It’s possible that something unforeseen may come up that the city attorney (Chris Latimer) would deem a significant change and therefore require additional hearings, but since these are the third hearings hopefully the code concerns have been expressed.”
“I think both of those will be handled tomorrow, and I feel pretty good about both of them,” Dumas said. “I’m glad to get all that on the table and hopefully off the table.”
The board will also continue discussing candidates to assist the city with its redistricting process.
The five firms who have submitted RFQs are: Golden Triangle Planning and Development District, Inc. of Starkville; Butler, Snow, O’Mara, Stevens and Cannada, PLLC of Ridgeland; Slaughter & Associates, PLLC of Oxford; Holland & Rigby Political Redistricting Consulting of Madison and ARCBridge Consulting & Training, Inc. of Herndon, Va.
Dumas said it is unlikely a vote on the matter will take place tonight.
“My gut feeling is there is a need for a good bit more discussion,” he said. “I don’t know how it will play out but we still have a little bit to figure out.”
Sistrunk said the time needed to come to an agreement will hinge on how soon one or more of the board members takes charge of the discussion.
“It depends on whether anyone at the table takes the lead in that discussion,” she said. “I think it’s incumbent upon those of us with a protected interest to take that lead.”
Wiseman said it is difficult to tell at this point when the board will be prepared to make a selection.
“I hope the board will be closer to reaching a decision, but given that members were not ready to make one at the last meeting, it’s hard to tell until discussion takes place whether the board is willing to act.”
The board will also consider the addition of the Northside Drive ditch drainage improvements to be added to the 2012 capital improvement projects and discuss choosing members of the selection committee to evaluate requests for proposals for municipal facility projects.

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