Ward 4 Alderman Jason Walker will propose creating a seven-person review committee Tuesday to handle the board-requested analysis of Starkville’s sidewalk and landscaping ordinance.
If supported, Walker’s motion would establish a group comprised of two aldermen or their designees; a commercial and residential developer; and members of Starkville in Motion, the Starkville Tree Advisory Board and the city’s transportation committee.
City planning professionals from comparable peer cities could also advise the group during its review, a copy of Walker’s motion outlines, as well as outside landscape professionals.
Previously, Starkville aldermen tasked Community Developer William Snowden with reviewing the city’s landscaping and sidewalk ordinances after Ward 2 Alderman Lisa Wynn and Ward 3 Alderman David Little said both place unfair burdens upon developers’ shoulders. Although the board initialized the review process, it did not set specific goals or direction.
Walker’s proposal sets two main goals for the review: a review of the codes’ language, processes and procedures for redundancies, conflicts and user friendliness; and the research of overlay zones and similar alternatives to balance ordinance requirements to their context within the city based upon existing and future land-use designations.
“A compromise? That’s the intent,” Walker said of the ordinance. “It will allow this community to be run in an open fashion where everyone can have their say.
“The sidewalk ordinance has been around a little longer, so there have been a few wrinkles ironed out over the past. We have an opportunity to look at it and update it, but the work on the sidewalk ordinance has been very beneficial to Starkville,” he added. “The landscape ordinance is still relatively new. Again, we have the opportunity to get it where the city needs it in terms of language to balance its need and the expectation of a developer. We’re trying to find ways to make the processes easier and clean up the language.”
Aldermen granted Snowden six weeks of paid leave last month for health reasons, delaying his report until February.
Deputy clerk expected to fill court position
Aldermen are expected to name Starkville Deputy Court Clerk Shalonda Sykes to the court’s vacant position Tuesday.
A letter requesting the move from Court Administrator Tony Rook and Starkville Municipal Judge Rodney Favor was written three days after former clerk Debra Wood resigned her position on Oct. 26.
Sykes, a Mississippi State University graduate, has worked for the city for eight years.
Aldermen held a special-call meeting last month over a personnel situation that culminated in a unanimous motion effectively removing Wood from the job – aldermen gave her the choice of resigning or being fired.
Neither elected officials nor city employees have commented on the nature of Wood’s departure.
Carl Smith covers Starkville and Oktibbeha County for The Dispatch. Follow him on Twitter @StarkDispatch
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