OUR OPINION: Code revisions necessary to shape Tupelo’s future

By NEMS Daily Journal

Population growth, annexation and opportunity all drive the necessity of revising Tupelo’s development code – the city ordinances guiding business development, design standards, neighborhood integrity, and zoning, all essential in making a blueprint for Tupelo’s immediate and long-term vigor.
The Development Services Department has spent vast amounts of time and energy shaping the revisions to the needs of a 2012 city moving forward rather than holding to a 1992 code model.
Two-way communication started Tuesday and continues today and into December with a series of meetings about the specific sections of the code changes.
Today’s 3 to 5 p.m. Session is about zoning, as was Tuesday’s meeting in City Council chambers, where all will be held. Three additional sessions are scheduled:
• Standards – 10 a.m. to noon, Nov. 19, and 3 to 5 p.m. Nov. 20.
• Application procedures – 3 to 5 p.m. Nov. 26; 10 a.m. to noon, Nov. 27.
• Public hearing – 6 p.m., Dec. 3.
Code revisions are designed to complement the city’s long-term comprehensive plan, adopted in 2008.
It’s expected the revisions will enhance the city’s focus on urban development – better use of smaller spaces, multi-use developments, and enhancement of parks and trails, an acknowledged quality-of-life issue.
The revisions also, in fact, are about Tupelo’s competitiveness with cities of similar size, potential and goals, in Mississippi and beyond. The Community Development Foundation recognizes the need for updating Tupelo’s image to attract the best and brightest of new generations of well-educated young adults who have chosen in substantial numbers to live and work elsewhere, with greater access to urban lifestyles and amenities. It staged an event in Memphis earlier this fall and invited former Tupeloans and Northeast Mississippians to reconsider Tupelo.
Code revisions would empower the kind of changes necessary to fully move Tupelo into a mainstream of cities attractive to a younger workforce.
It’s especially important for code revisions to reflect the right zoning and use choices for the newly annexed areas, which offer an unprecedented opportunity for appropriate growth and economic expansion.
After the meetings and the public hearings, the City Council will decide, and as its members know from the evidence, Tupelo has fallen behind the development curve in the most vibrant and growing locales.