TUPELO – Once again, the proposed development code appeared on the Tupelo City Council’s agenda for approval. Once again, the council didn’t approve it.
Since June, during the final meeting of the previous administration, the City Council has grappled with the proposed development code and updated zoning map. The council then failed to pass it because of concerns a billboard company objected to language in the code.
And then the current City Council considered passing it but then decided to wait until after Mayor Jason Shelton held a housing summit nearly two weeks ago for developers and real estate agents to share concerns with the proposed code.
Instead of passing the document intended to make development less restrictive in the city, giving more flexibility for residential and commercial building, the council voted 4-3 to table it again after two used car dealership owners objected to a provision that would allow a competitor to locate along the Barnes Crossing Overlay District.
Four council members – Willie Jennings of Ward 7, Markel Whittington of Ward 1, Mike Bryan of Ward 6 and Jim Newell of Ward 3 – voted to table the development code again and hold another work session to discuss it.
“I hate to put this on hold,” Jennings said. “But that’s something I’d like to see done.”
Council president Nettie Davis had hoped the new development code and zoning map would pass Tuesday, especially since there were no objections to the documents at a recent housing summit.
“It’s just a fact that we’re blocking something just for one issue,” Davis said during the meeting Tuesday.
Last month, the City Council rejected a special request from CarMax, a Fortunate 500 company waiting to locate along the Barnes Crossing area. The new code would not require the company to seek special permission to locate in that area.
However, current business owners said they’d been told by leadership at City Hall a decade or longer ago that they couldn’t locate in that area, even though the development code would have allowed it with special permission.
The proposed development code and zoning map follows adoption of the most recent comprehensive plan in 2008. The current development code and zoning map haven’t changed since 1994.