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Shannon sees zoning as growth lure

By Philip Moulden

Daily Journal

SHANNON – Shannon residents will feel the effects of zoning for the first time next week as town leaders prepare for an expected rush of development linked to construction of two four-lane highways.

The mayor and board of aldermen approved the zoning measure after a six-month study that included a series of public hearings. There was little opposition.

Still, the town plans to allow a 60-day grace period for people who were preparing to develop property before the new ordinance takes effect, Mayor G.A. Herndon said.

“We need to get some things cleaned up,” he said of pending projects.

“By zoning, it just gives us more control on what they (developers) do and where they do it,” noted Alderman David Homan.

Only about five people expressed concerns about the proposal, and all were resolved, Alderman Mike Robinson said. “They were not really complaints.”

“We think the people in Shannon accepted it real well,” agreed Alderman Robert Smith. “The people were well satisfied with it after we explained it.”

Officials said zoning will allow residents to feel secure about existing land uses and know that incompatible projects won’t pop up next door. And the board can grant variances or conditional uses when zoning creates undue hardships, they noted.

“I think the purpose of any zoning is more for the protection of present landowners … more than calling it control,” Herndon said. “I don’t (foresee any problems), I really don’t.”

The ordinance provides three residential classifications: R-1 single-family with a minimum lot size of 10,500 square feet; R-2 two-family with minimum lot sizes ranging from 7,500 to 10,500 square feet; and R-3 multifamily with lot sizes linked to the number of housing units. The ordinance creates setback and lot-line standards.

It also designates mobile home zones, although mobile homes could be put in R-2 zones under special circumstances approved by the board.

All commercial activity will be confined to C-1 zones, which are located along U.S. Highway 45 Alternate, around the new U.S. Highway 45 interchange, and on the western edge of the town. Industrial zones (I-1) were also established.

“We’ll be the only town (in the county) outside Tupelo that’s got two four-lane highways running through it,” Herndon noted, pointing to current work to widen both U.S. 45 and 45 Alternate.

Enhanced transportation is seen as a draw for new businesses and, collaterally, new housing, officials said. But they also feared haphazard growth could hurt the town.

“By zoning, we stand the opportunity to attract new quality development to the community,” Robinson said.

Herndon said the zoning plan, forged by the Council of Governments, moved smoothly because a land use map and comprehensive plan were already in place.

“A lot of information was already prepared by folks at the Council of Governments,” he said. “A lot of this stuff we didn’t have to deal with.”

Residents who aren’t sure where new zoning lines run should check with Town Hall before beginning development, officials said. For people who want to have that information at hand, copies of the zoning ordinance and a zoning map may be obtained at Town Hall for $5.

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