Variance denied for Old Mill Landing

Published 8:19 pm Tuesday, October 23, 2007

A public hearing was held at the Pearl River County Board of Supervisors meeting Monday morning to discuss the variance request by developer Johnny Lang for the Old Mill Landing subdivision.

Realtor Tommy Breland had approached the board in recent weeks asking for a variance on the curb and gutter requirement for lots smaller than 20,000 square feet. The original design for the subdivision, which is being developed by Jimmy Lang, called for 20,000 square foot lots, but Breland told the board that Lang had decided to reduce lot sizes to lower costs of lots within the subdivision.

The public hearing opened with a statement by District IV Supervisor Robert Thigpen.

“I have had phone conversations with many people who could not make it today who had concerns about the traffic, drainage, crime, and quality of life that would be adversely affected by shrinking the lot sizes,” Thigpen said.

Clifford Randy Holland, a resident of the area, addressed the board saying he represented approximately 70 people who had signed a petition for the board to deny the variance request.

“We have been concerned about the subdivision since the very beginning. Now we are alarmed. … There may be certain situations in which the variance would be appropriate, but not this one. … A variance here opens the door for any and all contractors to request variances,” Holland said.

Thigpen said one of his main concerns about the subdivision was that the branch into which the storm water would be draining does not flow when it rains.

“We have recently had half an inch of rain and it is still not flowing. … I don’t want whoever takes this office next having to listen to raindrops and worry about the drainage in that area. … I was concerned about 200 houses, and 400 houses in that area is completely not doable,” Thigpen said.

Floyd Massey, who owns land adjacent to the proposed subdivision, said the subdivision has reduced the permeability of the land.

“Not only that, but the DEQ permit and application states that the treatment plant would flow into tributary. Webster’s definition of a tributary is flowing water, and that creek is not flowing,” Massey said.

“We have been concerned, but have not objected as long as you followed the rules and regulations. Now that you want out of those regulations, we object,” Holland said.

Thigpen asked Breland what the size of the homes being built in the subdivision would be. Breland said the size requirements and covenant restrictions had not been finalized yet, but that any homes in the area would not devalue other property.

Thigpen disagreed.

“When you start putting one driveway serving two houses and have 800 square-foot homes, you’re going to have problems,” Thigpen said.

Once the hearing was closed, Thigpen made a motion to deny the variance for the subdivision. The board voted against the variance 4-0. District 1 Supervisor Anthony Hales was absent from the meeting.

The board voted to accept bids that were opened earlier in the month for sirens for the warning system and for skid mount and trailer mount generators. The low bid for the warning sirens was $143,580 from ComSouth, and the only bid received for the generators was for $475,207 from Taylor Power Systems.

County Administrator Adrain Lumpkin said the bid from Taylor Power was lower than originally expected.

Bobby Strahan of the Pearl River County Emergency Management Agency said the generators would be placed at the county jail at Millard, the county hospital in Poplarville and at the two water treatment plants and all lift stations. The money for the generators came from a 100 percent grant from FEMA, Strahan said.

Strahan said there has been progress made toward building three shelters in the county, in Picayune, Carriere and Poplarville. Strahan said FEMA has granted the county $8.7 million to build these shelters, which can be used for other things as well.

Thigpen asked if the new shelter at Carriere could double as an office for the Pearl River County School District superintendent, and said he would like to present the idea to the superintendent.

Strahan said he believed it was possible and would look into how it could be done and still meet FEMA and MEMA requirements.

In other business, the board:

— Accepted invoice #3 for FEMA road repairs of $247,330.58 and authorized check to be issued when funds become available.

— Authorized execution of documents for purchase of foam truck for Nicholson Fire Department.

— Declared Monday, November 12 as Armistice/Veteran’s Day.

The board recessed until 9 a.m. Friday, Oct. 26.