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Fieldstone Farms get preliminary OK

A condo development that has bounced around for months finally received preliminary plat approval – on several conditions.

Fieldstone Farms, a 240-unit conservation neighborhood on approximately 100 acres located on College Hill Road near the Ole Miss Golf Course and the airport, moved another stop closer to becoming a reality.

Developer Brian Hill agreed to the seven stipulations the Lafayette County Board of Supervisors imposed on the project.

The developer must make improvements to County Road 148, which connects to an emergency access road, including widening the road, adding 4 inches of asphalt and gravel and widening ditches.

• Put in the covenant that the emergency gate will only be used for emergency vehicles.

• Create a paved bus turnaround at the end of a cul-de-sac where the emergency gate is located.

• Add solar-operated speed signs facing north and south on College Hill Road.

• Create acceleration and deceleration lanes for the entrance to the development.

• Require the minimum standards for the smallest dwellings in the development be at least 1,900 square feet.

Developers had previously been before the county planning commission twice, as well as the city planning commission. The project has met all requirements from the city and is only awaiting approval for utilities. The development is currently outside the city limits, but many expect it to be annexed.

The county planning commission had required Hill to work out concerns among the residents along County Road 148. He told supervisors those issues have been resolved.

Traffic issues

The biggest issue to come out of Monday’s meeting seemed to be the traffic along College Hill expected to be generated from the development.

Supervisor Jeff Busy was especially concerned about traffic along the road. He requested county engineer Larry Britt check to see if the road may qualify for state aid and traffic control devices. One of those safety devices Hill said he would install himself.

“I’m going to live there and at least one of my daughters will be living there, so I will put up the solar flashing lights there for everyone’s safety,” Hill said. “I have no problem putting them there.”

“People fly up and down that road,” Busby said. “We need something to get people’s attention. We have to do something for folks who go up and down that road 50 and 60 miles per hour.”

One resident who has been vocal about his traffic concerns is Rocky Kennedy. He credited Hill for alleviating the concerns of his neighbors on County Road 148, but is worried about the number of additional vehicles that will be on College Hill once the project is fully completed in five years, as well as enforcing speed limits.

Busby said the county could request the Mississippi Highway Patrol set up radar in the area to slow down motorists.

“You have to put as many safety measures in place as possible,” Busby told Kennedy. “Then you’re going to have to rely on other avenues like the highway patrol.”

Kennedy also worries about the additional 600 to 1,000 vehicles that will be in the area.

“That’s a real concern for us,” Kennedy said.

Busby said he has the same concerns and that is a major reason why the county is going through updating the comprehensive plan and creating zoning.

“We’re not here to stop development, but we have to control it,” Busby said. “We’re not trying to stop this development and put in as many precautionaries as we can in the beginning because I know how it works if you try to do it later on.”

Busby said some of those traffic concerns could possibly be eliminated once Toby Tubby Parkway is complete.

Kennedy also worries that the emergency access gate will be used years from now as another entrance to the development.

County attorney David O’Donnell said that is not possible as long as the plat and covenants stipulate the entrance will be used for emergency access only.

After more than 45 minutes of discussion, Supervisor Kevin Frye made the motion to approve the preliminary plat with Supervisor David Rikard amending the motion to include the minimum standard size of the units to be 1,900 square feet. The motion was approved.