The city of Starkville has moved closer to its new comprehensive plan following a vote at the Starkville Board of Aldermen meeting Tuesday night.

The board voted 6-0, with Ward 5 Alderman Hamp Beatty absent, to approve updated placetype map amendments in advance of the comprehensive plan. The vote was taken after the second public hearing for the amendments. No citizens came forward to speak during the public hearing.

Board of Aldermen

The Starkville Board of Aldermen at its meeting Tuesday evening.

City planner Daniel Havelin emphasized that the placetype maps were not the same as zoning maps.

“It is just a way to translate the language of the comprehensive plan into a map,” Havelin said.

Havelin said placetype maps were used to record many factors including current use, current density, intensity, real estate market dynamics, public stakeholders and preferences among other.

“He said the placetype maps were updated after errors from the last set of updates came to light.

“There are maps in here that basically take the text and put it in map format, and when we got ready to start on this unified development code that we’re currently working on, we really got into some of the nuts and bolts of the map and realized that there were some errors.”

He said the errors were generally created by past data going back to 2014, with new data from 2017 creating issues.

“When they removed the areas that were underneath this, they just applied a placetype that didn’t really line up, so that’s another adjustment and then finally just to double check it, we went back through the whole city and kind of checked it with the comprehensive plan and what it states what its goals and objectives were based on the current use of the property,” Havelin said.

Another public hearing was tabled after residents near the proposed site expressed concerns.

Property owner Slade Kraker was on hand to discuss his plan to build eight small homes on a C-2 commercially zoned property located approximately 700 feet west from the intersection of Lynn Lane and South Montgomery Street on the south side of Lynn Lane. C-2 zoning is general commercial zoning. The hearing was for a conditional use request required by the city for residential property in C-2 zoning. The homes would be platted in a condominium development, to allow each house to be under separate ownership.

Jay Logan was one of a group of homeowners living on Maison Deville next to Kraker’s property expressing concerns about the development.

He said currently, Kraker’s property was at a much higher elevation than Maison Deville with driveways potentially sitting much higher.

“The driveway pictured in the map would potentially put the wheels of the car right next to the windows of my house,” Logan said.

The residents also expressed concerns about potential noise and traffic coming from the development along with the potential for the houses to become student-focused short-term rentals.

Ward 4 Alderman Jason Walker said the residents had sent a list of conditions to Kraker, which he was in agreement to most of. These include: a maximum of eight single-family detached residential plats, all lots being single-family detached houses, the design review commission reviewing the site plan, drainage not resulting in storm water runoff into Maison Deville, a 10-foot buffer between the two developments, no east-facing windows and the developer being available to adjacent property owners during the approval process and final site plan. The one request Kraker is hesitant about is not allowing rentals.

“The market should take care of itself,” Kraker said. “The market and the price and the location. The price of the house will be at least $280,000, the proposed price range for a 1,400-square-foot, three-bedroom with two baths, that really doesn’t work. I don’t see a lot of people buying those just to rent. Those numbers just don’t work, “

However, he said as a developer, he wasn’t willing to limit himself to the potential buyer.

“That’s just a property right that everybody should have,” Kraker said.

“Walker spoke to the difficulty of the decision.

“I don’t think there’s a clear cut answer,” Walker said.

The motion will be discussed again at the board’s Nov. 7 meeting.

At the beginning of the Meeting, Vice Mayor and Ward 6 Alderman Roy A’ Perkins spent more than 30 minutes expressing concerns regarding the minutes for the board’s Sept.17 meeting, when a quorum was not met at 5:30 p.m.

“Back to these minutes, there was no meeting that was ever held, regardless of who says to the contrary, I feel like I can defend that in any court,” Perkins said.

However, City Attorney Chris Latimer said he thought the minutes were acceptable since no action was taken prior to a quorum being met. At least four aldermen, or a majority of the board constitute a quorum.

“I don’t believe any official business took place until nine o’clock when a quorum showed up,” Latimer said. The mayor did open the meeting at some point before 6:10 p.m., and then she called for a recess, and instead of a 10-minute Coke break there was a two-hour break until nine o’clock, when a quorum was here.”

“In my mind, it’s compliant,” Latimer added.

The minutes were approved 4-2, with Perkins and Ward 7 Alderman Henry Vaughn voting nay.

The board also approved a resolution authorizing the issuance of general obligation public improvement bonds in the amount of $25 million for the construction of the Cornerstone tournament park and other parks and recreation improvements. The vote was 4-2, with Perkins and Vaughn against.

“This is just the next step in the process,” said Ward 2 Alderman Sandra Sistrunk.

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