Council follows commission’s request to deny plat

Published 7:26 pm Wednesday, May 21, 2008

A preliminary plat for low income housing was denied after two planning commission appearances and two council appearances because it was planned for construction in a flood zone.

Dailey Estates, a development associated with Pearl River Valley Opportunity, was to be built at the end of Central Avenue. That part of town is known for flooding during heavy rains. Additionally, Federal Emergency Management Agency flood maps will put more than half of the proposed homes in a flood zone.

The preliminary plat for the development went before Picayune’s Planning Commission for the second time May 13, because the original plat was changed before it was shown to the council the week before. That change involved the addition of two more detention ponds said to ensure the development would not negatively impact flooding in the surrounding area.

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Even with the two extra detention ponds added to the plat, the commission denied the request and sent it back to the council for Tuesday’s meeting. When the matter came up at the meeting, Dailey Estates legal representation Lawrence Hahn asked the council for a moment of its time before a vote was cast. His lengthy explanation about the development entailed how it was not going to negatively affect flooding in the surrounding area. Hahn then presented two engineers who stated they would perform analysis of the area to ensure his promise.

After Hahn addressed the council, member Donald Parker interjected to say that it is the responsibility of the council to look after the citizens.

Council member Leavern Guy then asked it there has been consideration of the existing flooding in that area, or are they just speculating that their development will not cause flooding. Guy also asked if there was a plan to try to reduce existing flooding in the area.

“We’re not required to fix the city’s flooding problems. The issue is if it will get worse from what we do,” Dailey Estates engineer Shawn Burns said.

Council member Jerry Bounds said the same thing was promised for Woodglen Cove when development in that area took place, but now the area floods. Bounds then made a motion to accept the planning commissions recommendation to deny Dailey Estate’s preliminary plat. Parker seconded that motion. Guy promptly wanted to table the decision to look at the plat again and consider getting a neutral party to look at the matter. Since a motion and a second were properly made on the matter a vote was taken, where Bounds, council member Larry Watkins and Parker all voted to accept the commission’s recommendation to deny the request. Guy voted against the motion. Council member Anna Turnage was absent from Tuesday’s meeting.

At the beginning of the meeting, the council honored the police officer and firefighter of the year, Trent Boyd and Ricky Saul respectively, for their efforts.

Next month new FEMA flood maps will take effect in Picayune, giving citizens a 10 percent discount on flood insurance, Interim City Manager Harvey Miller said. Watkins asked if city residents whose flooding status will change with the new maps have been notified. Public Works Director Chad Frierson said he will look into the matter.

“Citizens need to know something ahead of time, we need to make them aware of it,” Watkins said.

After approving a can shake to be held by the Picayune Noon Lions Club in October, Bounds suggested that the council require permits for such events. The permits would be limited and free of charge but would provide identification so residents are informed of the organization to which they are donating. The council agreed that it would be a good idea. The Noon Lions Club can shake will be held Oct. 25 from 8 a.m. to noon at the intersection of U.S. 11 and Miss. 43 N.

The council approved a commission recommendation for the conditional use request by Conva Rest to provide out-patient care at their planned nursing home. The center will be built on Cooper Road. The council approved the request, which had stipulations of a 40-foot buffer zone. At the end of the council meeting, Millbrook resident Fred White addressed the council about concerns of flooding, traffic and the narrow nature of Cooper Road that need to be fixed. White said the placement of the development on a curve of Cooper Road will only aggravate the situation.

“Take care of us. We have confidence you’re going to take care of us. Don’t let us down,” White said.

The council went into executive session to deal with property cleanup, a Dungan Engineering contractual matter, Utility Authority contractual matter and a personnel matter. Miller said when the council came out of executive session they decided to deal with city conducted property cleanup on a case by case basis. City expenditures of those cleanups will be charged to the owner. The matter with Dungan Engineering dealt with road improvements on Ridge Road, which was tabled until a future meeting when more information is available, Miller said.

As of June 1, the Utility Authority will be the operator for sewer services in Picayune, since the council approved that contractual matter. That contract will give the city access to Utility Authority water, to be stored at a water storage tank to be built on Miss. 43 N. That water would be available for purchase from the Utility Authority at whole sale prices if the city should ever need it, Miller said.

The personnel matter involved the appointment of Corey Smith, with Executive Realty, to replace former Utility Authority member Hoppy Cole.

In other council matters:

— Approved request form JayCee Development to build a community center for boys and girls on the corner of Whitthaur St. and Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.

— Approved submitting an application to the Office of Highway Safety, Division of Public Safety Planning for an Alcohol/Drug Countermeasures Program, which will provide funds for two employees with the Picayune Police Department.

— Approved a Community Development Block Grant request for cash to the amount of $48,415 from the Mississippi Development Authority for engineering construction services by Dungan Engineering for the new fire station.

— Approved rezoning two pieces of property from heavy industrial (I-2) to open space (O-S), one at the corner of Bruce Street and S. Main Street and the other located north of Richards Street.

The next city council meeting is at 6 p.m. Tuesday June 3, in the council chambers.