Council discusses updating development code

I'm a journalist focused on government, policy, politics and people.
I find what matters and bird dog it like nobody's business.

By Robbie Ward/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – Elected officials discussed changes to the city’s development code with city planning and development leaders Thursday, advancing the process of new planning and zoning ordinances that will likely be approved in the coming months.
Following the lead of Tupelo adopting four years ago a comprehensive plan aimed at directing the city for the next dozen or so years, the updated development code will help turn the plan into more of a reality.
“This is critically important because the comprehensive plan is primarily about revitalizing our community,” said BJ Teal, director of the city’s development services.
Tupelo officials aim for the new development code to simplify zoning ordinances, going from 16 existing zoning districts to 10.
It also includes new options for development, such as a pedestrian-scale development option, which allows for commercial projects to have less required parking in the front of property.
During the hour-long work session to discuss the changes, City Council members asked questions related to allowing mobile homes and apartment development in the Tupelo.
Mayor Jack Reed Jr. and council members have stressed the need for redeveloping older neighborhoods in the city to encourage more younger professionals to move here.
Census data shows more lower-income residents have moved into the city, causing some council members to favor limiting additional apartments in Tupelo.
“I wish we could stop apartment construction in the city today,” said Ward 6 Councilman Mike Bryan.
Having already held six public hearings on the proposed codes, the council will attend additional work sessions and is expected to adopt a version of it in April or May.
robbie.ward@journalinc.com