Two seats on the Picayune planning commission have been filled by the city council and some housing development requests have been discussed.
During this meeting Councilor Frank Ford moved a motion to appoint Michael Blades to fill a position on the Commission vacated by Glen Rayborn. Councilor Anna Turnage seconded this motion, which was approved unanimously.
A second seat representing residents outside the city limits was nominated by Councilor Lynn Bogan Bumpers, who chose Kim Bowens to fill that seat. Councilor Larry Breland seconded the nomination and it was unanimously approved by the rest of council.
Council also discussed certain budget items, such as positions in the city that are funded by more than one department. Connie Everett, financial consultant for the Southern Mississippi Planning and Development District, said when a position is funded by more than one department, department heads are unable to keep their budgets in line. She said that this fact, combined with the fact that the new position was unbudgeted and that some raises were given to city employees who were also unbudgeted, made it difficult for her to analyze the budget effectively. current.
In response, she took what has been spent so far this fiscal year and adjusted the budget to the city’s current spending level.
Council was also asked to authorize the position of assistant clerk on a part-time basis and to authorize the position of assistant clerk at the full-time entry level. City Clerk Sid Albritton said with the new hires he will have the staff he needs to get through the budget year.
Council also discussed a revised preliminary subdivision plan for the Cottage at the Nest subdivision. During a previous discussion about this subdivision, Councilor Anna Turnage expressed concern that there were too many homes planned for the project, making the lots too small, so she asked that the lots are 50 feet wide.
During Tuesday’s discussion, code enforcement officer Tom Milar said the lots had been reduced to 28 in total, with the lot sizes being 45ft wide. With this proposed change, Turnage asked if the project would be referred to the Planning Commission. City Attorney Nathan Farmer said that since there was a change of more than 5%, the case should be referred to the Planning Commission.
Citizens near this proposed subdivision will be alerted to the new public hearing before the Commission, Milar said. He added that the proposed subdivision will feature 24-foot-wide New Orleans-style homes.
Ford introduced a motion to approve the subdivision on the condition that lot sizes be no less than 45 feet wide, with homes 24 feet wide, and no more than 28 homes in total being built.
This motion was approved, with Turnage voting against.
In a separate subdivision case brought by Melvin Hicks and Leaver Guy, which involved 15 lots along Neal Road, Ford brought a motion to refer the case to the Planning Commission due to the possibility of soil contamination by fuel tank leaks. Ford requested that soil samples be obtained from a government agency such as the Department of Environmental Quality or the Environmental Protection Agency before the project proceeds.
Council approved this motion, but at the end of the meeting, Guy asked to speak to the matter. After Mayor Jim Luke initially declined Guy’s request to speak and asked for a motion to adjourn the meeting, Luke asked legal counsel if Guy could speak, who said it was up to Council. Council then approved a motion to allow Guy to speak, who expressed disgust at claims that the property is potentially contaminated. Guy said these claims are devaluing the property. Guy added that he had contacted DEQ about this, who informed him that the tanks were not on his land.
“We don’t even own that part of the property,” Guy said.
After Guy spoke, Ronald Jackson voiced his objection to the subdivision due to flooding issues, and Bod Lowe opposed the subdivision stating that although the tanks are not directly on the property, any leaks potential would not be contained outside the property in question. .