Council discusses subdivision plans

Published 5:03 pm Wednesday, November 28, 2007

A city council member’s submission of a request to subdivide some land sparked a small debate at Tuesday’s city council meeting.

After the Planning commission failed to pass a motion concerning council member Leavern Guy’s request to subdivide three parcels into 50 foot wide lots, it was remanded to the council. Currently the city’s building codes require 60 foot wide lots.

When the matter came before the planning commission recently no member on the commission would make a motion to approve or deny the request, so it was remanded to the city council, said city attorney Nathan Farmer.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Guy’s request sparked some debate on a conflict of interest with some residents who attended the council meeting. When the request came before the council, Guy recused himself from the meeting. Farmer said Guy’s recusal from the meeting alleviated any legal or ethical issues with the council making a decision on the matter.

Guy’s request is to subdivide three parcels into 50 foot lots, when city building codes call for 60 foot lots.

The area in question does have homes sitting on 50 foot lots, but they were built before the new codes were put into effect, Farmer said.

Larry Breland, who owns rental property in the area in question, said he is concerned about building more homes where there are already issues with narrow streets, lack of sidewalks, deep ditches and flooding.

“I’m looking at the welfare of those people that are in there,” Breland said.

Another rental property owner, Kenneth Fortenberry, brought up the ethical issues involved with a council member proposing this request, which poses a possible conflict of interest.

Melonee Griggs said she is concerned about adding more people to an already stressed infrastructure. She said it is not a good idea to add more people to that area, especially with the Superfund site so close by.

The council decided to table Guy’s request until Dec. 18, so members can gather opinions from members of the surrounding community through a panel of composed of two or three representatives from the area. Members of the panel still have to be named. Mayor Greg Mitchell asked those whom become part of the panel to meet with City Manager Ed Pinero to discuss the matter further.

An update on the new fire station was presented by Brooks Wallace, with Dungan Engineering.

The new station will be built on South Loftin Avenue where a new access road will connect the station with Memorial Boulevard. That work will be paid for with a Community Development Block Grant. The department also will receive two new fire trucks and some other new equipment through the Municipal Fire Rebate Funds, at little or no cost to the city.

In other business the council the went into executive session to discuss a contractual matter with Hartman Engineering, Neel-Schaffer and a pre-position debris contract. Pinero said the pre-position debris contract was awarded to HRL Construction. Hartman Engineering was awarded contractual work for the city to conduct debris and waste water work. Neel-Schaffer was awarded a contract to conduct drainage and resurface work on Memorial Boulevard scheduled to take place after the Christmas holidays, Pinero said.

The council also;

— Appointed Mark Thorman to the airport board to replace Karl Scott, whose term ended in July.

— Approved the closure of Rester Street and Williams Avenue during a Toys for Tykes Veteran’s Ceremony motorcycle run to take place at the Veteran’s Memorial at the Historic City Hall.

— Approved a request from Habitat for Humanity to hold a can shake on Dec. 1, at the intersection of Miss. 43 N. and U.S. 11 and the intersection of U.S. 11 and Goodyear Boulevard to raise money to complete some new homes.

The next council meeting is at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 4.