Change of zone approved to much dismay

Published 5:37 pm Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Picayune’s Planning Commission had an eventful meeting Tuesday night with many residents expressing their discontent with a proposed development in the city.

Two of problems with the development expressed by residents were whether the development would provide low income housing and the plan to add an adjoining road from the new development to connect to the Woods Subdivision. The proposed change concerning the zoning for the land from R-1, or single family residential, to PUD-R, or Planned Unit Development Residential would need to take place first.

Greg Cantrell, who represented Carley Cooper, developed the plans for the development to be called Highland Commons, which is slated to contain the new hospital. The plan is to include the proposed new hospital along with residential and commercial development in a more than 200-acre lot. Tuesday’s meeting focused on the residential and commercial aspect of the development.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Cantrell said the plan for the development would be to create a walkable community, like that which exists in downtown Picayune in the Main Street area.

“…You can live, work and play all in the same community,” Cantrell said.

Cantrell said there will be green space set aside for the development that will be maintained in part by businesses in the area. There are some professional and medical offices planned for the development, Cantrell said. Some of the residential spaces will be above businesses, he said.

“We’re pretty sure this is pretty much going to happen as residential,” Cantrell said.

SIngel family residential lot sizes would have between 60 to 110 foot lot frontage and Cantrell said the homes slated for construction are of “extreme” value because of the vicinity of where they will be built.

In the sections of the developments where there are smaller lots, back alleys are planned to help alleviate vehicle congestion and allow foot travel.

Multi-family homes and single family homes are planned for the site. The plan is to put 225 single family homes along with 16 town house buildings that are no more than 20 feet high and 12 condo buildings with 20 units at no more than 40 feet high high.

“The landscape will be phenomenal, especially if I have anything to do with it,” Cantrell said.

After Cantrell finished his sales pitch, in spite of several interruptions from concerned citizens, the public had a chance to have some of their concerns addressed.

Some concerns included where would all the new people send their children to school, would there be low income housing, why is the Woods Subdivision proposed to be the only one connected to this development, what would be done with the traffic created on U.S. 11 since there will be three entrances to the development from the already congested road and what about storm water drainage.

To address the school issue, City Manager Ed Pinero said it is a school board responsability. Cantrell said there would be no low income housing since covenants would deem the development would have to meet certain standards.

The only neighborhood connected to the subdivision would be Woods Subdivision, which was a major concern to the residents since they were not asked if they minded being connected to a major development.

“That would have been very nice if someone would have knocked on my door to ask me,” said Woods resident Cury Clement.

Bill Jackson, who is a resident of Woodland Heights, was concerned about the buffering suggested in the plans.

“The only need for buffering is to protect from the neighboring offense,” Jackson said.

There was however a positive note Jackson saw in the new plan for the development.

“The only positive that I see is it’s better than (zoning it as) C-3,” Jackson said.

As far as the drainage goes, Cantrell said that the City of Picayune will determine where the drainage will circulate, Cantrell said. Cantrell showed a map of how the drainage would flow and it appeared to head south towards the proposed new hospital site and Woodland Heights. To this Cantrell would only say that the map tells the developer how high the development should be. He said the drainage issue would be worked out at a later time.

He said traffic on U.S. 11 is the responsibility of the state.

The Planning Commission voted to recommend that the Picayune City Council approve the zoning change. The changes have to be approved by the Picayune City Council to become final.

Other items handled by the commission were:

— Recommended a zoning change from R-2 (Two family residential) to R-3 (Multi-family residential) for property located on Telly Road and Cedar Grove.

— Recommended Cooper Company and Trinity Investments Inc. request for conditional use approval to allow some residential uses above some new commercial buildings inside the proposed Planned Unit Development, the same development that sparked concern with Woods Subdivision residents.

— Recommended a subdivision request to re-subdivide a parcel of land into eight separate building sites for eight proposed Habitat for Humanity houses to be constructed on South Haugh.

— Recommended a home occupational license to allow an office inside the home of Jason and Jeannette Chatelain for a business called Critter Catchers on Stemwood.

— Recommended a home occupational license to allow a the home of Billy Ray Causey to be used for his wrecker business located on Washington Street provided he find a commercial location to park the wrecker and that he not park wrecked vehicles on his extra lot in the same area.