By Robbie Ward
TUPELO – After months of back and forth discussion related to approving the city’s updated development code, the Tupelo City Council likely will vote today on the document intended to ease red tape on commercial and residential developments.
For one company looking to locate to Tupelo, the City Council passing the development code will mean the opportunity to locate where it spent a year identifying as the right place.
In August, the City Council rejected Fortune 500 company CarMax’s request for a variance to locate in the Barnes Crossing District Overlay. Council members voted against the request after other used car dealers complained about not having permission to locate in the area more than a decade ago.
If no changes are made to the updated development code, CarMax will not need to receive special permission from the city to locate at the Tom Watson Drive location. The construction and other costs associated with the project are expected to cost about $5 million.
In June, the City Council rejected the new code by a 3-3 vote. After revisions to the code related to billboard advertising, Council president Nettie Davis said timing is right to pass it.
“It’s more business friendly,” she said. “I feel like we need to make a move on it.”
Mayor Jason Shelton said the city will hold a housing summit on Thursday to hear from builders and others involved with creating housing in the community. Shelton said he wants to make sure the code supports his goal of creating more affordable housing in the city.
City Council members have said they’re open to revising the updated code after passing it if tweaks are needed.