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Now several years in the making, a total overhaul of Corinth’s land development code is nearing completion.

Bob Barber, partner with Orion Planning and Design, was at City Hall on Wednesday to go through the third draft of the code with city leaders. A morning session included Mayor Tommy Irwin, two aldermen and various personnel. Barber took notes for revisions that he expects to be complete within a few weeks.

The revised code is part of the Envision Corinth 2040 planning process, which launched in January 2017 and resulted in a long-range city plan being adopted in November 2018.

Its implementation is achieved through projects and policies, and the new code, when adopted by the city, will be the blueprint for implementation, replacing an existing code that is considered antiquated.

“It proposes a different level of looking at the community than your current 1960s code,” said Barber. “A good code builds value in the community. You’re building wealth with an up-to-date, current code.”

The revamped code is designed to yield a better-looking community through guiding aesthetic principles. With attrition over time, the streetscapes should begin to take on a more appealing character.

“The change will be incremental,” said Barber. “It happened over time and it goes a different direction over time.”

Applicants for building projects can expect to be required to present more documentation, and the role of the planning commission is expected to increase.

With the nearly 200-page draft of the land development code in hand, elected leaders and City Hall staff had questions for Barber on a variety of topics, including metal buildings and carports, regulations for signs and murals, and how the city should transition to the new code.

“This code is not anti-sign,” said Barber, the former planning director for Hernando. “It is pro-sign, quite frankly. It’s just orderly signage.”

Zoning districts will have new descriptions and names such as suburban neighborhood, neighborhood residential, mixed residential, neighborhood center, suburban corridor district, downtown gateway, downtown core, traditional neighborhood development – historic & infill, traditional neighborhood development – new, institutional, planned unit development district, agricultural and rural center.

Overlay districts include historic preservation and floodplain & floodway.

The code summarizes the overall objectives with the following points:

n Stimulate and guide positive economic and commercial growth.

n Accommodate the unique and special development needs of Corinth.

n Provide the required guidance to promote the sound redevelopment of older neighborhoods.

n Establish streets that provide for vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians and appropriately serve adjacent development.

n Require adequate open space for traffic, recreation, drainage, light and air.

n Protect and preserve the natural environmental assets of Corinth.

n Provide for landscaping, appropriate site and building design, and the overall design quality of Corinth.

The Envision plan was developed based on input from community meetings and focus group sessions.

“The process was to have that focus group frame up what they believed to be Corinth’s important issues going forward over the next couple of decades,” said Barber. “The participants were fantastic. Our team was thrilled with the results here that you came up with.”

The city’s last long-range plan was developed in 1963.

The Envision plan adopted by the city board in 2018 is available at envisioncorinth2040.com

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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