Planners deny rezoning request

August 12, 2009 11:47:00 AM

Tim Pratt -


STARKVILLE -- A developer''s attempt to rezone 4.98 acres off Yellow Jacket Drive for a new subdivision was rejected Tuesday night by the Starkville planning and zoning commission.  


The commission, which serves in an advisory capacity to the city''s Board of Aldermen, voted 5-1 to recommend aldermen deny the rezoning request. Only John Moor was in favor of the request while chairman Dora Herring didn''t vote.  


Frank Brewer, of B&P Developers, wanted to change the property from a R-1 single family zone to a R-3 multi-family district. The rezoning would allow Brewer to build up to 39 homes on the property, while an R-1 district only allows up to 19. Brewer submitted no plat for review, but said he plans to build single-family detached homes, despite the R-3 multi-family designation.  


The commission''s decision pleased the roughly 50 citizens who showed up in opposition to the zoning change. Nearly a dozen spoke out against City Planner Ben Griffith''s assertion that changes in the "character" of the area warranted a rezoning.  


Griffith had cited the rezonings of three properties in the vicinity since 2007. The land at the southwestern corner of South Montgomery Street and Lynn Lane was rezoned from R-1 to R-3 for the Maison de Ville subdivision; property at the intersection of Yellow Jacket Drive and South Montgomery Street was rezoned from a R-3 to a R-5 multi-family, high density district; and land at the northeastern corner of Yellow Jacket Drive and Eckford Drive was rezoned from R-3 to C-2 general business.  


"There''s three properties that have had a change in that area since 2007," Brewer''s attorney, Johnny Moore, said to the commission. 


But the residents argued none of the properties were in the same "neighborhood" as the land proposed for a rezoning. Each of the previously rezoned properties are at least two blocks away from the land proposed for a zoning change Tuesday night. The land in question is southeast of the intersection of Yellow Jacket and Eckford drives, near the Starkville High School football stadium.  


"It''s a stretch to say this area has changed in any way to warrant a rezoning," said Robert Boyd, of the nearby Pleasant Acres subdivision.  


Boyd''s wife, Priscilla, presented the commission with 72 signed petitions of residents opposed to the rezoning. While most said the area hasn''t changed enough for a rezoning, they also were concerned with the amount of traffic 39 new homes would bring to Yellow Jacket Drive and the surrounding roadways.  


Still others were worried Brewer would build rowhouses or other multi-family units if the land is changed to a R-3 zone, despite his assertion that he only plans to build single-family homes.  


The debate Tuesday night wasn''t the first time Brewer and residents of Pleasant Acres have squared off. This spring he requested the same piece of land be changed to a R-3A single-family, medium density district. The planning and zoning commission approved the request, but the city''s Board of Aldermen ultimately rejected the proposed change. 


Brewer has 10 days to request a hearing with the Board of Aldermen about his updated request, Herring said. The board''s next regularly scheduled meeting is set for Aug. 18 at 5:30 p.m. in City Hall.