April 23, 2009
Tim Pratt -
STARKVILLE -- The Starkville Board of Aldermen Tuesday voted 4-3 to deny a developer''s request to rezone 4.98 acres at the southwest corner of Yellow Jacket Drive and Eckford Drive from an R-1 single-family residential district to an R-3A single-family medium density district.
Developer Frank Brewer requested a zoning change because the land in the future development isn''t flat. Rather than filling in the valleys on the property, he wanted to build a combination of larger and smaller single-family homes to suit the topography.
An R-1 zoning district has a minimum lot size of 10,000 square feet, while an R-3A zoning district allows a minimum lot size of 5,000 square feet. This would allow Brewer to build smaller homes in areas where there are valleys nearby and larger homes where there is more flat land.
"Some of (the land) is conducive to garden homes; some it is more conducive to larger, single-family homes," Brewer said.
Brewer planned to build a mixture of garden home, large single-family homes and possibly duplexes.
A maximum of 39 homes are allowed on the available acreage in an R-3 district, though by the time infrastructure and utilities were put in, the number of homes actually built would have been significantly lower, Brewer said. He didn''t have an exact number, but said it would have been everything from garden homes to large, single-family homes.
More than 40 residents of the Pleasant Acres community, which is located near the proposed site in Ward 3, showed up at the board meeting to show their opposition to the rezoning. The group had an ally in Ward 3 Alderman P.C. "Mac" McLaurin, who said the three conditions required for a zoning change -- a community need, changing conditions in the area or a clerical error -- don''t exist.
"This request for a rezoning does not meet any of the statute tests for the rezoning of a property," McLaurin said.
McLaurin voted against the rezoning, along with Ward 1 Alderman Sumner Davis, Ward 5 Alderman Matt Cox and Ward 7 Alderwoman Janette Self.
Ward 2 Alderman Rodney Lincoln supported the zoning change, along with Ward 4 Alderman Richard Corey and Ward 6 Alderman and Vice Mayor Roy A. Perkins.
After the vote, residents of Pleasant Acres were pleased with the board''s decision, while the developer of the project said he was "extremely disappointed."
Stan Maynard spoke on behalf of the Pleasant Acres community and said one of the group''s main concerns was increased traffic in the area of the rezoning request. Traffic congestion already is a concern among residents of Ward 3 and an R-3A zone would have allowed up to 39 new homes on the property, even though Brewer, said he had no intention to build 39 new homes.
"If we rezone this ... it would make the (traffic) problem worse than what we already have," Maynard said.
Maynard was pleased with the board''s decision to deny the request, and was even more pleased with the number of neighbors who showed up to show their opposition.
"Pleasant Acres is a very united subdivision, as you can see by the great turnout here tonight," Maynard said. "We are real pleased, not only that our neighbors and friends came out, but how everybody pulled together and responded."
"We are, of course, very disappointed," Frank Brewer''s wife, Wendy, said. "But we have won the battle, pretty much, because my husband does own that property with some other investors and it will be developed, regardless."
"We''ll develop it as an R-1 as they wish," Frank Brewer chimed in. "They might not like what R-1 brings them, but it will be R-1."
"Unfortunately it probably will be a great disappointment to them because I don''t think a lot of them are really considering the fact that it will be developed," Wendy Brewer said.