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Council sends development decision back to commission

The preliminary plat for a residential development tentatively slated to be built next to Picayune’s new hospital was sent back to the Planning Commission.

That decision by Picayune’s city council was based on the fact that information provided to the council was different than the information provided to the commission. The Planning Commission’s recommendation listed on the council’s agenda was to deny the request.

Lawrence Hahn, an attorney representing Pearl River Valley Association which would be the owner of Daily Estates, presented some information about the proposed development to the council. The development tentatively will contain 43 single family homes. Lease agreements would get residents into the homes with the option to buy after 15 years. The council expressed concerns that about half of the proposed homes would be built in the special flood area designated in the most recent flood maps. They also expressed concern about the possibility of increased flooding in other areas after the development is built.

Hahn said that flooding issues have been addressed with three detention ponds. City Attorney Nathan Farmer pointed out that the commission was presented plans that only included one detention pond, instead of three as the council was presented. He suggested the council send the matter back to the commission.

The council decided to send the matter back to the Planning Commission for its review at its meeting scheduled at 6 p.m. May 13, in the council chambers.

Deon McDougle is almost set to hold his Father’s Day celebration on June 15, contingent on the Police Department and McDougle coming to an agreement to provide security.

The council was concerned about last year’s celebration where loud music and the lack of security caused the community to complain.

“From the problems last year we need to resolve that or this will be the last time the council will hear from you,” Interim City Manager Harvey Miller said.

After McDougle stated he had talked to a security firm to provide security for the event, council member Jerry Bounds suggested using local police officers instead.

“Because if something happened, the security guys are going to call them anyway,” Bounds said.

Deputy Chief David Ervin said the only concern the department would have with that idea is that man power in the department is not sufficient to provide security to the event and cover the city. Ervin suggested using a combination of private security and local officers.

The council decided to approve the event, to be held at Snyder Park, contingent on McDougle and the department coming to an agreement on security.

Picayune’s Fire Department was able to raise $3,234.43 during its recent boot drive. That donation was presented to the local chapter of the American Red Cross to help keep a Red Cross representative in the community.

A Utility Authority resignation was accepted from Hoppy Cole, appointed by the city to that board. Apparently Cole is moving to Hattiesburg, which will make him unable to serve on the board, Bounds said. An attempt to appoint by Bounds to name as a new member real estate developer Corey Smith the same night met with resistance from council member Leavern Guy. Guy said he is concerned that the new appointee should serve in the best interest of the community. Guy said he expects large increases in utility bills when the Utility Authority assumes ownership of the city’s utilities to support its $300,000 legal expenses and $250,000 engineering expenses.

“We need someone who will look at those numbers to make sure that increases in bills do not supplement those (expenses),” Guy said.

The council decided to table the appointment until the next meeting so members can all discuss the matter further.

In other business, the council went into executive session and after wards agreed to a contract with Andy and Carly Cooper for a project to build a four-lane road from U.S. 11 to Miss. 43 North for the Highland Community Hospital development. It approved a motion to allow two FEMA cottages to be placed on private property until January 2009 at which time they must be moved. A train depot change order dealt with an increase of $6,800 to add another inch of overlay to the drive at the depot.

The council also:

— Approved May 4-10 as National Good Will week.

— Approved request from GWRRA to hold a can shake at the intersection of Miss. 43 North and U.S. 11 9-11 a.m. May 10 for motorcycle awareness Day with all proceeds going towards Christian Care Ministries.

— Approved rescheduling Pick it Up Picayune to 9 a.m. May 10 to begin at city hall.

The next meeting of the council will be 6 p.m. May 20, in the council’s chambers.