Slaughter & Associates working on updating zoning map, ordinance; Public meeting, hearing seeking community input expected to be scheduled

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By Josh Troy

Clarksdale Advocate

In response to three areas of Coahoma County being annexed into the City of Clarksdale in 2019, the Board of Mayor and Commissioners is in the process of updating its long-range comprehensive plan, zoning map, and ordinance. The bypass at Highway 49 to Shady Nook – a store north of Lyon – (known as Area 3), the Hopson Commissary area, including Shack Up Inn, and all that development area to New Africa Road to where Highway 161 intersects with 61 (known as Area 4), and the Coahoma Country Club golf course to Highway 61 toward the area of Southern Duplicating (known as Area 5), were annexed into Clarksdale.

Slaughter & Associates out of Oxford is putting together Clarksdale’s comprehensive plan that will look ahead 20 to 25 years and zoning ordinance. Mike Slaughter, owner of Slaughter & Associates, spoke to the Board of Mayor and Commissioners at last Thursday’s vetting meeting. Nathan Willingham, Senior Planner/Senior Project Manager for Slaughter & Associates, was with Slaughter. A work session with community leaders preceded the update at the vetting meeting.

“A few years ago, we had annexation where we annexed some areas mainly along Highway 61 bypass, and we annexed north and south of that and east and west,” Slaughter said. “And we annexed those areas in which we need to apply zoning. In order to apply zoning, it has to be based on an adopted comprehensive plan. It would require the city to be willing to update their long-range comprehensive plan.”

Slaughter said, with annexation, city boundaries changes and the zoning ordinance and map must be updated. He added the ordinance will address issues such as water, sewer, and drainage, along with transportation. “All of this, these are tools to guide this city, as well as this community into the future looking 20 to 25 years down the road,” he said. “But, you would need to update this at a minimum every five years.”

Slaughter said the zoning map and ordinance being done properly could help the city generate more sales tax dollars. He said he would prepare two separate maps that will be easy to read. The maps will be presented in front of the board, in public meetings, and a hearing to involve the entire community in the process.

Ward 1 Commissioner Bo Plunk talked about building a new subdivision on Highway 49 and making sure the area had proper services such as police and fire protection. Subdivisions are the act of dividing land into pieces that are easier to sell or otherwise develop. Slaughter said zoning of residential and commercial property where the necessary services would be provided is part of the plan. “We have commercial growth,” Plunk said. “Most likely, it’s going to be on the bypass and around the bypass.”

“We want to make sure it’s good positive growth that will promote other growth,” said Slaughter in response. “That’s what this zoning ordinance and comprehensive plan is prepared to implement.”

Ward 4 Commissioner Ed Seals asked if Slaughter was prepared to tell where the subdivisions would be. Slaughter did not name specific areas but said they would allow residential, commercial, and industrial development. Mayor Chuck Espy stressed the importance of community involvement. “I think the public needs to see this one official time before we get to the final product, just in case the public has some suggestions,” Espy said. “I totally agree,” Slaughter replied. “We’re going to make that happen, Mayor.”

 

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