By STEVEN NALLEY
The Starkville Planning and Zoning Commission re-elected Jerry Emison as chairman and Dora Herring as vice chairman at its meeting Tuesday at City Hall.
Emison himself was absent, along with commissioner James Hicks, leaving Herring to preside over the meeting. While the commission’s chairman or vice chairman typically does not vote on matters unless there is a tie, City Attorney Chris Latimer advised Herring to go ahead and vote on the evening’s matters to maintain a quorum.
“There must be four affirmative votes for any motion to pass,” Latimer said.
Jeremy Murdock made the motion to re-elect Emison as chairman, and Jason Walker seconded it. John Moore made the motion to re-elect Herring as vice chairman, and Ira Loveless seconded it. Both Herring and Emison were re-elected unanimously.
The commission also unanimously recommended approval of a conditional use request from Ernest Minor to allow multi-family residential use in a commercial zone on Carver Drive. If the Starkville Board of Aldermen approves Minor’s request, he will be able to rebuild Summer Chase Apartments, destroyed by fire on January 27, 2012.
“We have been trying to get permits to rebuild,” Minor said at the meeting. “We have contractors waiting to get on the job. It’ll be identical. (to the old one).”
Commissioner Ira Loveless asked the rest of the commission if a total rezoning would fit Minor better. If the property were zoned differently to begin with, Loveless said, Minor would not need to come before the zoning commission seeking permission to rebuild. Loveless asked City Planner Ben Griffith if the current zoning on Minor’s property was in error.
“Is that another one of our old oversights?” Loveless asked.
Griffith said the planning office had researched records concerning the property, and no exception for multi-family use was originally granted for Minor’s property. Once the exception is in place, he said, Minor will be able to rebuild as many times as needed without needing permission from the zoning commission.
“This will accommodate him if, God forbid, (something were to happen to his property again,)” Griffith said.