By Robbie Ward
TUPELO – Homeowners in a high-dollar residential development should learn today if the city of Tupelo will accept responsibility for upkeep of nearly three miles of private streets and other infrastructure.
Tupelo City Council members appear ready to approve accepting private streets for the roughly decade-old Summit development that joined the city limits as part of an annexation approved in 2012.
Developers Tommy Morgan and Morgan Whitfield have asked the council for months to accept responsibility for the development’s infrastructure but haven’t received approval as city leaders continued to question conditions of streets there.
“They were built up to city standards and certified by our engineer,” Morgan said. “I hope the city accepts their responsibility to take them in.”
The lapse in years from certification of the infrastructure as up to city standards until now has resulted in cracked streets, and city leaders are uncertain how much upgrading them to current standards will cost.
“If there’s a figure out there, I have not seen it,” said Tupelo Mayor Jason Shelton.
As part of the Mississippi Supreme Court’s ruling to grant Tupelo’s annexation request, the city agreed to provide city services to new residents within a reasonable amount of time. However, since Lee County never accepted the Summit’s private streets for county upkeep, they remained private after annexation.
The development includes a dozen current houses valued from $750,000 to $2 million, one soon under construction and space for 27 more. A possible second development phase could add another 15 lots.
Morgan said the most recent economic slowdown impacted demand for high-end housing, but it now seems to have picked up.
The City Council could require the Summit’s developers to bring the infrastructure up to city standards before accepting them but seems likely to accept them in their current condition.
“I feel like if they were annexed to the city, we have a responsibility to get those streets in order,” said City Council president Nettie Davis.