Proposed Tupelo code works in flexibility

By Michaela Gibson Morris/NEMS Daily Journal

From signs to land use, Tupelo’s proposed development code aims to give businesses more flexibility while still protecting property values and the city’s visual landscape.
“We can’t accommodate every request,” said city planner Pat Falkner, but input from business owners and the public shaped the proposed code.
The code’s development has been guided by two main principles: The broad desire to foster a business friendly environment and follow the 2008 comprehensive plan. After rounds of review and a public hearing, the planning committee is set to send final draft to the city council for consideration at its Jan. 7 meeting.
Falkner expects the council will study the detailed development code for some time before moving it up for a vote.
“We anticipate changes from council input,” Falkner said.

Concerns about business sign regulations proved fertile ground for changes in the proposed development code.
From suggestions from the business community, the proposed code allows business owners to use a formula to determine the total amount of signs instead of strict percentages. It allows temporary signs to be used for two weeks per quarter, and owners would no longer have to renew the permit every quarter.
Based on another comment, the proposed code allows For Sale signs to remain longer than a year as long as they are maintained.
“What we’re really trying to get rid of is rusty poles sticking up in parking lots,’ Falkner said.

The proposed code reduces the number of separate zoning districts, but expands the options for what business and property owners can do in those zones, especially in the transition areas between zones.
“We’ve created a code with a lot more by right uses,” that don’t require approval, Falkner said. There are also more options for flexible and compatible uses that require council, planning committee or staff approval, but create a path for many more uses within a zone.

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