Subdivision zoning approval tabled in Olive Branch

Olive Branch aldermen tabled a zoning request this week for a preliminary plat for Phase 8 of the Allendale subdivision. The request was to subdivide about 10.9 acres into 50 lots and three common spaces. It is supposed to be the final phase for the Allendale subdivision north of the Maywood subdivision. The area is zoned R-3, Planned Residential zoning district.  

The hold up comes as developers have not provided the city plans about silt detention in the area. Alderman Gil Earhart, who lives in the Maywood area and is well aware of silt issues and muddy waters from the Maywood lakes, asked for the delay so developers could come up with solutions.  

“We asked for a good plan from all three developers and yet we don’t have a final plan on any of it,” Earhart said. “The challenge we’ve had in the past is the silt detention ponds have been inadequate in construction and design and we’re still getting silt and muddy water in the lakes in Maywood. That’s the issue we’ve had for about 20 years and it’s time to stop it.”

Earhart wants to see how the silt mitigation will be controlled, a redesign for the silt mitigation ponds, and plans on how to keep silt from coming into the lake and. “As of yet, we don’t have those plans,” Earhart said. “When they’re serious about developing they’ll bring us a good stormwater improvement plan.”  

Olive Branch aldermen Tuesday also took an initial step toward getting some of the aging sewer and water lines improved in the older part of the city.  Officials were given approval to sign and present financial capability certifications to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers related to what is called the 592 sewer rehabilitation project.  

“It’s in the Old Towne area which has some of our older infrastructure,” said Mayor Scott Phillips. “It’s some of the old clay-type stuff that’s been in the ground for years that’s been infiltrated with roots and what not. That’s what is going to be replaced.”

City Attorney Bryan Dye said the cost of the project is about $1.6 million and the city will contribute about $400,000. He added there will be opportunities to opt out if the board chooses to do so.  

“Of that, money will come from water and sewer funds or water and sewer bond proceeds as they are available,” Dye said. “This is just an initial step in applying for the Corps of Engineers funding for sewer rehab. If at any point in time the board did not want to proceed, there will be opportunities to ‘stop the train,’ so to speak.”  

The board also took the right-of-way of Quistor Drive, a street near the high school that the city has done work on but the school district still actually owned. Phillips said not taking the right-of-way was an oversight the city should have done years before.  

“We have done improvements on it, we’ve done the installation on it, we just never dedicated it, so that’s what that was about,” Phillips said.    

Tuesday was the last regularly scheduled meeting for Phillips as mayor, as his term ends the end of the day June 30. Ken Adams, newly-elected Mayor-elect, assumes office on July 1, although his ceremonial swearing-in will take place at the first meeting of his term on July 6 at 6 p.m.  

“I’ve been blessed to be able to serve the city for 25 years,” Phillips reflected about his time as a firefighter and the last eight years as mayor. “It’s been an honor and privilege and I can’t thank this team (aldermen) enough. You always hear that you want to leave things better than the way you found it and this city is primed for the next best thing to come.”

Earhart spoke about Phillips before the invocation was offered at the beginning of Tuesday’s meeting and said the mayor has an incredible heart for the city.  

“I think he did a fantastic job carrying on the plans from Mayor Nichols and Mayor Rikard moving this city forward into a very fast-paced growing town,” Earhart said. “We got the airport bought, got us through a very contentious annexation program and got us in a good foundation for us to continue to grow.”  

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