City code input sought

By Emily Le Coz/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – City officials will hold a series of public meetings, starting today, to discuss upcoming changes in Tupelo’s development code.
The development code regulates land use and construction standards in the city. It hasn’t changed in more than two decades, and the overhaul proposes three major shifts: an allowance for mixed-used developments, an allowance for high-density construction and a raising of design standards.
Those changes are reflected throughout the new development code, a 14-chapter list of ordinances governed by the Tupelo Development Services Department.
“The new code needs to do two things,” according to the city website. It needs to “prevent unwanted change in residential neighborhoods, and to enable non-residential areas to continue to attract new investment.”
City planning officials started rewriting the code shortly after the December 2008 adoption of the Tupelo Comprehensive Plan.
The plan envisioned a more urban environment with compact development and interconnected green spaces – versus the previous trend of building outward and on large lots with little space for parks and trails. But the city hasn’t been able to fully promote that type of growth under its existing code system.
Codes needed to change to support the new plan.
Before pitching the new code to City Council leaders, the Development Services Department wants input from residents, builders and other community stakeholders.
It will hold six public work sessions about different themes in the new code before hosting a public hearing on its entirety.
“After this review process is complete, the draft code will be adjusted as needed to respond to comments and criticism received,” the city website explained.
It then will go to the council for final consideration and adoption.
emily.lecoz@journalinc.com