Starkville aldermen reject zoning appeal

BY ROBBIE WARD

Daily Journal Starkville Bureau

STARKVILLE – The city's Board of Aldermen rejected a developer's plea to allow a zoning change that could allow a fraternity and a bar to open next to residential property.

Harold Gordon, who also represented developer George McKee, said property at 505 Louisville St., would make an excellent beauty salon or attorney's office. However, he said no decision has been made about what type of business that would open if the zoning change was approved.

The property is zoned residential, but Gordon wanted it to change into a buffer zone that allowed more types of businesses to open.

The Starkville Planning and Zoning Commission unanimously rejected the request last week. Guidelines for changing zoning require showing that the original zoning was wrong or that the area neighborhood had changed enough to require rezoning.

Gordon said apartments along Louisville Street and a nearby beauty shop had changed the area from its original characteristics.

“It's our feeling the neighborhoods have changed,” he said. “Things change as much as we don't want them to.”

Gordon also read a letter written by McKee that accused the planning and zoning commission and other city officials of unethical behavior. McKee accused the zoning board of denying the zoning changes because Ward 2 Alderman Frank Davis' family doesn't support the change. The letter also accused City Engineer Bill Webb of incompetence' in handling the zoning change.

Carole McReynolds Davis, wife of Frank Davis, told the board that citizens and city leaders must protect city neighborhoods from encroaching developers.

Davis leaving the board room during zoning change discussion and the board's vote on the appeal.

City Attorney Katherine Kerby said McKee's allegations were inaccurate.

Ward 6 Alderman Roy Perkins said the neighborhood exhibited characteristics many residential areas in the city should desire.

“This neighborhood appears to be a neighborhood with rich neighborhood values,” Perkins said. “I intend to uphold those values.”