Hotel residency Studied in Sardis

Published 1:00 pm Tuesday, June 18, 2019

By Myra Bean

Some hotels in Sardis came under scrutiny at the Comprehensive Zoning Plan meeting Thursday morning with the Mayor and Board of Aldermen.

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Board attorney Tommy Shuler answered questions and clarified ordinances the Board had from the report put together by Bridge and Watson of Oxford. Shuler also explained the differences between conditional use permits, special exceptions and variances.

The city clerk is allowed to enforce the ordinances, according to the policy. Violation of ordinances will cost from $10 to $100 per day.

The hotels are being used as a permanent dwelling for many families. It is currently zoned C-2 for commercial hotel use. The city would be able to claim hotel and tourism tax money under that zoning.

In order to have residential apartments, the hotels would need to be zoned residential for multi-family dwelling and not subject to tourism tax.

If the hotels claim extended stay rooms, the city could collect its three percent tax.

Board attorney Tommy Shuler said in the original business plans submitted to the city, there was no mention or plans to turn the hotels into a permanent dwellings or apartments.

Board members were also surprised when they heard that school buses were picking up and dropping off children as those were the residential address of parents.

Shuler also said some people come in to city court using the hotel addresses as their residences.

Adult Entertainment

Another zoning concern was where  adult novelty stores and entertainment could be zoned. The board found out they had to specify a place for those types of businesses and zone them Industrial.

Other Zoning Issues

The 60/40 Commercial-Residential Buildings plan was explained for businesses which has to use 60 percent for commercial and 40 percent residential.

There was a question of the zoning of the lot behind Circle Z on Highway 51 South. The map shows it was zoned R-2. The Sardis Educational Building is also zoned R-2.

The board found out that land zoned agricultural is not allowed to have livestock.

Churches are allowed to build in any zone with conditional use permits. The town will ask any new churches to waive the provision for alcoholic beverages to be served within 500 feet.

An ordinance about modular homes in the city will be added to the ordinance.

Bridges and Watson were sent a list of changes and what will be rezoned on the map. The board will then discuss the changes and advertise and hold a public hearing to hear any objections from the citizens. Then the board will vote on the zoning plan.

A committee was formed last year to meet with Bridge and Watson to study the old ordinances and come up with new ordinances if necessary for a modern town.