The city of Starkville will soon consider a pair of variance requests for a proposed estate subdivision on the south side of Highway 182.
John Tomlinson, a retired coordinator of state relations for Mississippi State University, is looking to develop the subdivision, which would be on the west side of Long Lake and to the east of the Stark Road-Highway 182 intersection.
Tomlinson is seeking two variances — a release from the requirement to build a sidewalk on the property’s northern edge along Highway 182, and a narrower road within the subdivision with grass swales instead of curb and gutter drainage and a single walking path alongside the road.
City Community Planning Director Buddy Sanders said the property, which is already zoned residential estate, does not require a rezoning for the proposed subdivision. Sanders also noted the requests will go before the city’s Board of Adjustments and Appeals on May 23, and from there to the Starkville Board of Aldermen at the June 5 meeting.
Tomlinson said he’s seeking to build the subdivision for 15 lots on about 22 acres of land.
The variance request submitted to the city notes that a sidewalk along Highway 182 on the property’s northern edge would require rerouting existing drainage and “significant” grading to create a level surface for the sidewalk, due to the area’s topography. It also notes that the sidewalk would have a limited five-foot buffer from Highway 182 which, without any other pedestrian safety improvements, could be hazardous.
The request also says that there are limited chances of the sidewalk connecting to anything, with Long Lake, to the east, unlikely to see any sort of development that would require a sidewalk.
Tomlinson’s second variance request seeks a 22-foot road, which it notes is acceptable within the rural neighborhood place type as defined in Starkville’s comprehensive plan.
The new subdivision takes inspiration from Tally Ho Road, Tomlinson said.
“What we’re trying to do is replicate what’s on the east side, on Tally Ho Road,” he said. “We’re looking at the same type of road and construction. We think it’s got good topography. It’s got some good sight lines and lake view lines. That’s what we’re shooting for.
“We’d like the road to be narrow with no curb and gutter unless that’s what the engineer says that’s what we need,” Tomlinson later added. “We’re going to follow good environmental practices. We just don’t want to have to widen the road. We want to maintain the character of the site itself, as much as we can.”
The variance requests are a very early step in the process of developing the subdivision. Tomlinson said it’s too early yet to know what the subdivision’s name will be or to identify potential home sizes and prices. Still, he said he hopes it will be something that works well for the city.
“I’m not in this to get rich, but I am in it to have a good place to retire,” he said. “If the city and planning folks will bear with us, I think it will be something Starkville can be proud of.”
Alex Holloway was formerly a reporter with The Dispatch.
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