City Council votes against zoning change that would allow new liquor store

By BUSTER WOLFE,

The Hattiesburg City Council followed the Planning Commission’s recommendation to deny a zoning change for a 38th Avenue liquor store after opposition from a Baptist minister and a churchgoer.

However, Ward 2 Councilwoman Deborah Delgado said Tuesday the decision to deny the zoning change was difficult for her.

Utpal Patel, owner of the Golden Eagle Express convenience store in the 200 block of 38th Avenue, appealed the Planning Commission’s 7-0 recommendation to deny the zoning change from B-2 Neighborhood Business to B-3 Community Business. According to Patel’s attorney, S. Joel Johnson, the change was needed so Patel could expand his business to an adjoining location and open a liquor store.

“First of all, we find ways to make things happen when it’s something we care about or when it’s people we identify with,” Delgado said before the vote was taken. “I’ve seen us do that for years, and I’m not including this Council. I think about challenges many of our business owners have had in trying to do business in the City of Hattiesburg and use properties that they own.”

Ward 4 Councilwoman Mary Dryden, who seconded the motion to deny the zoning change, said the proposed business was surrounded by residential property.

“It is important to all of us that we be business-friendly,” she said. “I love seeing new businesses come to Hattiesburg and open here. I think the consideration of the residents is always foremost. … I would like to see a service-oriented business the way it is zoned.”

Ward 1 Councilman Jeffrey George, who made the motion to deny the zoning in his ward, said he appreciated the sentiments of Delgado and Dryden. However, he said the residents told him there was no need for a liquor store at this address.

“I think it is important that we have always considered what the people in the area have to say because it is their neighborhood,” he said. “They feel a responsibility for what happens.”

On Monday, Kevin Shearer, the pastor of 38th Avenue Baptist Church, and church member Linda Walters spoke in opposition to the zoning change.

The City Council voted 4-0 – with Delgado abstaining – to deny the zoning change.

In other business, the City Council:

• Approved 4-0 with Delgado abstaining Minutes for the May 21 and 22 meetings of the City Council.

• Adopted 5-0 an Ordinance filed by Alexander Ignatiev to close and vacate a portion of the undeveloped alley running east and west between Dixie Avenue and Gordons Creek.

• The Planning Commission recommended 7-1 with two abstentions to approve on June 6.

• Adopted 5-0 an Ordinance for the petition filed by Donald Crowther, representative, Sidney Malone, owner, to change the zoning classification for a property at 5224 Old Hwy. 42 from I-1 (Light Industrial) to B-5 (Regional Business) for a self-storage business. The Planning Commission recommended 8-0 with two abstentions to approve on June 6.

• Adopted an Ordinance 4-0 with Delgado abstaining for the petition filed by The City of Hattiesburg to amend the Land Development Code Section 10, Signs. The general intent of the proposed amendment is an effort to clarify language, modify regulations, and to enhance overall sign regulations within the Land Development Code. The Planning Commission recommended to approve on June 6.

• Approved 5-0 a petition filed by Rene Benoit, representative, and Tracy Clinton, owner, to vary from Section 6, Table 6.1 setbacks and max impervious lot coverage for property located at 900 Mobile St. The Planning Commission recommended 6-0 to approve on June 6.

• Adopted 5-0 a Resolution setting Public Hearing before City Council on Monday, Aug. 6, 2018 to determine if certain properties are in such a state of uncleanliness so as to be a menace to the health and safety of the community and providing for notice to owners and Authorized publication of the hearing.

• Adopted Resolution 5-0 amending the 2018 Voting Delegates for the City of Hattiesburg, from the resolution adopted May 22 in connection with voting in the 2018 Mississippi Municipal League election. The voting members will be President Carter Carroll of Ward 3 and Dryden as the alternate.

• Adopted a Resolution 5-0 authorizing Requisition No. 22 from the Project Fund Construction Account in connection with a certain loan agreement dated Aug. 18, 2016, by and between the Mississippi Development Bank and the City of Hattiesburg.

• Authorized Mayor to execute five lighting requests with Mississippi Power to upgrade lighting in the Arcadia Sunset area for a net monthly increase of $279.71, in the Arcadia Sunset area near the Alzheimer Care facility for a net monthly increase of $56.79, in the South Sunset Area for a net monthly increase of $136.35, near the service road along Highway 49 for a net monthly increase of $60.60, and on South 28th Avenue from Lincoln Road to Mimosa for a net monthly increase of $67.

• Authorized Mayor 4-1 with Delgado opposing to execute agreement with Craft Entities, LLC d/b/a Wage Hour Expert, a consulting firm, to provide wage hour consultative services to the City of Hattiesburg for a period of 12 months, beginning Aug. 1, 2018 and ending July 31, 2019.

• Authorized Mayor 5-0 to execute Re-Certification of Designation form, designating Breakthrough Community Services as a Community Housing Development Organization (CHDO).

• Approved 5-0 Supplemental Agreement No. 1 with Precision Construction for the Infrastructure Improvements at South 31st Avenue, South 30th Avenue, Chevy Chase Drive & Hardy Street project to adjust final quantities to actual for a total cost overrun of $3,682.16; Authorized Mayor to execute multiple originals of Supplemental Agreement No. 1; Authorized publication of Notice of Final Settlement for the project; Authorized payment of Pay Application No. 4 and Final in the amount of $141,953.47.

• Ratified and confirmed 5-0 the Mayor's appointment of Darryn Cook-Kelley to the Recreation Board for a five-year term beginnig June 19, 2018 and ending June 18, 2023.

• Adopted a Resolution appointing Ronda S. Cole as Clerk of Council at an annual rate of $60,000, set appointment to be effective July 5.

• Authorized Mayor 5-0 to execute two lighting agreements with Mississippi Power for additional street lighting at 1316 Hardy St. for a monthly increase of $15.92, and at 314 McInnis Spring Road for a monthly increase of $18.79.

• Authorized Mayor to execute Yearly Maintenance Contract between The City of Hattiesburg and MCCi for Legistar Software at a cost of $13,576.50.

• Acknowledged certification of results of the 2018 School Bond Referendum special election.

• Acknowledged Proof of Publication for April and May 2018.

• Acknowledged receipt of the monthly budget report for the month ending May 31, 2018.

• Acknowledged receipt of May 2018 Privilege Tax License Report.

• Acknowledged receipt of Declaration of Forfeitures from the Forrest/Perry Metro Narcotics Task Force forfeiting $25,000 to the Hattiesburg Police Department.

• Acknowledge receipt of Declaration of Forfeiture from the Forrest/Perry Metro Narcotics Task Force forfeiting $11,024 to the Hattiesburg Police Department.

• Acknowledged receipt of Declaration of Forfeiture from the Forrest/Perry Metro Narcotics Task Force forfeiting $1,169 to the Hattiesburg Police Department.

• Acknowledged receipt of Declaration of Forfeiture from the Forrest/Perry Metro Narcotics Task Force forfeiting $1,200 to the Hattiesburg Police Department.

• Acknowledged receipt of Declaration of Forfeiture from the Forrest/Perry Metro Narcotics Task Force forfeiting $831 to the Hattiesburg Police Department.

• Acknowledge receipt of Declaration of Forfeiture from the Forrest/Perry Metro Narcotics Task Force forfeiting $619 to the Hattiesburg Police Department.

• Acknowledge receipt of Declaration of Forfeiture from the Forrest/Perry Metro Narcotics Task Force forfeiting $566 to the Hattiesburg Police Department.

• Acknowledge receipt of Declaration of Forfeiture from the Forrest/Perry Metro Narcotics Task Force forfeiting $381 to the Hattiesburg Police Department.

• Acknowledge receipt of Declaration of Forfeitures from the Forrest/Perry Metro Narcotics Task Force forfeiting $353 to the Hattiesburg Police Department.

• Acknowledge receipt of Declaration of Forfeiture from the Forrest/Perry Metro Narcotics Task Force forfeiting $300 to the Hattiesburg Police Department.

• Acknowledge bids received May 31, 2018 for the Repair of Bridge on Barkley Road, and accept the bid of Key, LLC of Madison in the amount of $144,795 as the lowest and best bid; Authorized Mayor to execute contracts upon preparation.

• Approved Specifications and Authorized Publication of Advertisement of bid for 10 Side Loader Automated Refuse Trucks for the City of Hattiesburg Solid Waste / Public Works Department.

• Approved the sale of grave spaces.

• Approved claims docket for the period ending June 15, 2018.

• Approved publication setting a Public Hearing for July 9, 2018 at 5:30 p.m. at C. E. Roy Community Center and establishing a Public Comment Period beginning on June 22, 2018 and concluding on July 9, 2018 for the 2018-2022 Consolidated Plan and 2018 Annual Action Plan.