CATEGORY: ALD Tupelo City Council

AUTHOR: MOULDE

HED:Zoning, budget top agenda

By Philip Moulden

Daily Journal

Tupelo's City Council will conduct public hearings tonight on two rezoning requests and the city's 1997-98 budget.

The council will meet at 6 p.m. in the City Hall Annex on Court Street.

Council members will consider a proposal by David Berry to rezone less than three acres off West Jackson Street from medium-residential to general commercial to accommodate an agricultural nursery.

The site lies behind Berry's home at 1229 W. Jackson St., west of Rankin Boulevard, and is now used for agricultural purposes. The rezoning would not affect the residential zoning on Jackson Street itself. The plan was recommended by the city's Planning Committee.

"It would just be a regular commercial nursery behind his house," Planning Department director Stacey Mathis said. "He could not put any kind of commercial buildings on Jackson Street."

The council is also scheduled to act on a plan to rezone about 44 acres off Lawndale Drive to limit development to single-family and duplex residences.

The zoning change was agreed to in a settlement of a 4-year-old lawsuit filed against the city by landowners. The suit claimed the city's old Board of Aldermen had illegally rezoned the property from multifamily residential to single-family residential in an effort to block development of an apartment complex on the site.

The zoning proposal will maintain single-family designation, although lot sizes will be reduced, on the 12 acres nearest Lawndale Drive while permitting duplexes on the other 32 acres.

The city has also agreed to pay the landowners $145,000.

The council will also seek public input on the city's needs for the coming year. Administration officials have been working on budget plans for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1, but no spending blueprint has been produced and the council will probably not begin budget workshops until next week.

The city's general fund budget is expected to exceed $25 million this year. Special funds, including debt service and Water and Light Department expenditures, boost the city's total budget to near $100 million.

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