Corinth aldermen adopted boundaries last week for a new neighborhood conservation overlay district, expanding on the area proposed by the city’s planning commission.

The board also extended a moratorium on new construction of residences less than 2,100 square feet in the area zoned R-1A, which is generally between Main Street and Shiloh Road. Originally expiring on Oct. 21, the moratorium is extended for another 90 days while the new overlay district gets organized.

The board’s action also calls for the new review committee for the area to be composed of homeowners who live in the area.

The purpose of the district is to add another layer of guidelines on what can be built in the downtown area in order to protect the character of neighborhoods and property values. The prospect of some small rental properties coming to Fillmore Street prompted the concerns.

The boundaries adopted by the Board of Aldermen are East Shiloh Road on the north, Polk Street on the west, Buchanan Street and Douglas Street on the east, and Childs Street and Cruise Street on the south. The smaller area proposed by the planning commission was intended as a starting point with separate overlay districts to be added layer. It was the planning commission’s feeling that a broader area would encompass too many variations in architecture, property values and home sizes.

During last week’s meeting, the board received a petition from Greg Moore and other residents who live beyond the boundaries proposed by the planning commission. The petition asked to be included.

“The goal of the people that I’m working with is not to tell you what color your front door needs to be or that your shudders have to be, or anything like that,” Moore told the board. “It’s two goals really – one of them is to prevent construction in this old downtown area that would take away from the whole. That could be building a place that’s real tiny and the threshold is not high enough, or it just really takes away from the neighbor’s place, and the other is to ensure that it’s not low-income housing to the extent that it might import crime.”

The city board will appoint a five-person design review panel whose members will, in consultation with the planning commission, formulate the guidelines that will apply to the district. Applicants for new residential construction and renovations will need the review panel’s approval before a building permit will be issued.

Members of the Corinth Historic Preservation Commission are urging the city to consider an expansion of the Historic Preservation District. One of those commissioners, Laura Albright, said deciding on design guidelines for the new overlay district could be “a slippery slope.”

“I know from being on the preservation board, there are so many things that we have to consider for a certificate of appropriateness,” she said, “and that’s why I thought maybe the MDAH guidelines would help establish a district here for the neighborhoods that would be easier to just jump into.”

Staff Writer

Jebb Johnston is a 1991 Alcorn Central High School graduate and a 1995 Ole Miss journalism graduate. His primary beats are city and county government.

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