Greetings Lakeland residents! In an effort to better communicate with you on the City's activities, I am writing with an update and hope to continue to do so on a regular basis with pertinent information of use to us all.
First, I want to direct your attention to some of the features of our website. On the front page of www.lakelandtn.gov you will find an icon, midway down the page, for "Agendas and Minutes". This is where you can see what upcoming meetings are scheduled, when, where, and (typically within two days of the event) the meeting agenda and materials. Some meetings are scheduled quickly, such as special meetings of the Board of Commissioners, and by Charter the meeting notice and agenda are posted at least twelve hours ahead of the meeting. Here, you can also see past meetings, their agendas and attachments, and even watch the video recordings of most meetings.
Recap of last week's meetings:
The Municipal Planning / Design Review Commission (MPDRC) met last Thursday. Here's a recap:
- The MPDRC forwarded a recommendation to the Board of Commissioners (BOC) to change our regulations to allow reduced fall setbacks (a buffer within which a tower can fall, should an unforeseen event occur) on mobile cell towers when engineered to fall within a tighter radius. An MPDRC recommendation does not change the regulations - the next steps will be a first reading of a regulation change (an Ordinance) at the February BOC meeting, with a second and final reading in March.
- A resident on Stewart Road in the northern area of Lakeland was permitted for a gravel access road, with a paved portion connecting to the roadway (to reduce gravel debris on Stewart Road).
- The Lakeland Meadows Planned Development was amended, reducing the total number of houses and adding a common open space in the area closest to Highway 70.
- The Lake District submitted two items, a revision of their sign plan and a proposed amendment to their Planned Development document to add multi-family facilities. The sign plan revision was approved, while the multi-family revision was deferred pending additional studies of traffic and school impact.
- Staff also presented discussions of potential street lighting on higher-traffic and lower-sight roadways in Lakeland, as well as overhead MLGW electrical distribution lines.
We have a busy week ahead at City Hall, and hope that you can join us for some or all of these meetings.
Tonight (Tuesday January 24th), we have two meetings at City Hall (10001 Highway 70, Lakeland, TN 38002):
- The Board of Commissioners is holding a special meeting at 5:00pm to discuss three items -
- Approval of a grant agreement with the State of Tennessee for reimbursement of costs related to last year's ice storm
- Authorization for me, as City Manager, to support the Shelby County Sheriff's Office (SCSO) by researching available locations in Lakeland for a new substation
- Approval of a one-year moratorium on new commercial development along Highway 70
- The Community Advisory Board (CAB) is holding their regularly-scheduled quarterly meeting at 5:30pm to discuss public safety and neighborhood watch programs
Thursday night, January 26th, the Industrial Development Board (IDB) meets at 5:30pm at City Hall - the agenda includes:
- Two presentations, one by me as the President of the IDB, one by guest Dexter Muller, on the role and function of the IDB and on Tax Increment Financing (TIF)
- With recent resignations and reappointments to other areas of service in Lakeland, the IDB has four of its seven voting directors that are new - related to this, the IDB will elect a new Chair and Vice-Chair
- As part of a TIF district, Lakeland Commons routinely submits expenditure reports to the IDB for approval, so that ultimately these costs may be eligible for reimbursement from the TIF fund - there are two draw requests on the agenda for approval
Responding in the most efficient and best way possible to the concerns of our residents is the goal of all our elected officials and staff at City Hall. The meetings this week, especially tonight, are in direct response to concerns that have been communicated to us.
The BOC's consideration tonight of a substation search for SCSO, as well as the CAB's focus tonight on public safety and Neighborhood Watch (with representatives from SCSO in attendance) is in direct response to recent events in Lakeland. Each month, the Sheriff's Department reports to us on crime in Lakeland, and often this crime includes vehicle-related crimes. With the recent tragic death in Windward Slopes, public safety is on everyone's mind. Mine, and all of our prayers go out to the family, friends, and neighbors of Erin Last.
The BOC's consideration tonight of a temporary moratorium on commercial development along Highway 70 is also in direct response to public feedback. The discussion of street lighting during last week's MPDRC meeting, as well as discussions surrounding a proposed commercially-zoned area of Lakeland Meadows (which ultimately was changed to a common open space), highlighted citizen concern that such commercial development be paused until the City completes the Lakeland PULSE comprehensive plan process. That plan has multiple points of intersection with public engagement and feedback, including the upcoming public engagement session on January 31st. Based on this feedback, and the work yet to be done, the Mayor is proposing a halt on approvals temporarily.
To Be Continued...
Our work is never done, but always to be continued. I hope you find this new feature of communication, which I plan to continue, helpful in keeping abreast of developments in the City - but I encourage you to let me know! Please email any time to email@example.com your concerns, and what you may wish to see communicated in my news flash on our website.
In Your Service,
Michael Walker, City Manager