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Lakeland News

Posted on: May 15, 2023

City Manager's Update - May 15, 2023

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Good Monday Lakeland Residents,

As we start off a warm and hopefully sunny week, you may notice some work underway at City Hall. The front entrance sidewalks and concrete areas are being reconstructed to make City Hall more accessible for all our residents, and because of this, is closed today and possibly part of tomorrow. However, we are still open - we are still working and serving you, our residents! If you need to come to City Hall, please just call ahead to 901-867-2717 and someone will be able to assist you. 

This week, we have more opportunities for you to get involved in City governance and help us shape the future of Lakeland. Here are the headlines:

  • Tuesday night is a Lakeland P.U.L.S.E. Comprehensive Plan Advisory Committee meeting to review the draft of the land use plan
  • Thursday night is a Board of Commissioners (BOC) meeting, which will include additional items for consideration within the Lakeland Gateway District

But first let's take...

A Look Back at Last Week

Lakeland Board of Education

The Lakeland Board of Education met last Monday at City Hall, and as a reminder, their agendas as well as links to meeting recordings can be found here.

Parks and Recreation and Natural Resources Board

The PRB met last Tuesday evening, and here's a summary of what happened in the meeting:

  • Richard Fabacher presented his Eagle Scout Project to the PRB - he built a bridge across one of the creeks between the Blue and Red trails. He began planning his project about 1 year ago, and enlisted licensed contractors in the project as well.
  • The Athletic Complex, Phase II project was discussed, including an update about ongoing discussions with MLGW to bring power to the Complex. Once power is brought to the site, field lighting can be installed. The BOC has previously assigned funds for field lighting. Parks and Recreation Director Pat O'Mara also updated the PRB on the status of the environmental reports with the Tennessee Department of Environmental Conservation and the Army Corps of Engineers, and presented the first complete draft of the floor plan and elevations for the concession building as part of the Phase II Baseball facilities.
  • The PRB looked at updates to the Lakeland Senior Center Policy and recommended it be brought to the BOC for approval. These edits included removing language that established the Senior Center as an unstaffed rentable facility, as the Center operates as a programmed space Monday through Friday for active adults 55+.
  • The PRB reviewed the draft Sponsorship Packet, and requested additional tiers be added to certain programs so those Lakeland Businesses who would like to sponsor teams and events have more options to contribute.
  • Finally, the PRB discussed the recommendations for fee additions to Parks and Recreation Fees. No fees were increased, but a fee was established to allow for the rental the Rec Room (smaller gathering space with a pool table, shuffle board, smart TV and couches) at the International Harvester Park. Additionally, field rental rates for the Athletic Complex were approved to allow families, teams and agencies to host events at the Athletic Complex.

Municipal Planning and Design Review Commission

The MPDRC met last Thursday evening, and here's what happened in the meeting:

  • The MPDRC unanimously approved, by acclamation, a land disturbance permit for the Ashmont Planned Development. Ashmont is the anchor of the newly established Lakeland Gateway TIF District, and the developer also updated the MPDRC on progress being made on the development, including that he has received two hotel letters of intent/interest (LOI's), that an assisted-living group is on board for the development, and that the smaller lot homes should generate values of approximately $550k per home, with the larger lot homes generating approximately $850k per home.
  • The remainder of the meeting focused on the sketch plan update (click link to access updated plan) for the Chapel Lakes Planned Development. For those wondering, a sketch plan update is the developer's opportunity to obtain feedback from the MPDRC as well as the public prior to submitting a full outline plan update - they then take the feedback, make any changes they determine are fitting, and submit a formal plan update for approval. Because of the nature of this process, the item last week was simply a discussion item - no formal action was taken by the MPDRC. While the full discussion can be viewed from the meeting video, here's a summary of some of the concerns presented:
    • City Planning Director Paul Luker presented staff concerns over the mailbox locations, the details of trail connections between neighborhoods, configuration of the R-3 lots, and potential traffic calming measures needed on Lakeland Trace.
    • Several neighboring residents presented concerns, including a call for the developer to invest in community amenities and conservation, potential buffers between neighborhoods, traffic and safety concerns, drainage concerns, and elevation concerns over the homes planned on the northern border of the proposed sketch plan.
    • The developer representative from the Bray Firm addressed the comments received from staff, the public, and the MPDRC members. The next step in the process would be for the developer to submit an updated outline plan or planned development update for recommended approval by the MPDRC. 

map showing proposed sketch plan for Chapel Lakes

A Look Ahead to This Week

Lakeland P.U.L.S.E. Comprehensive Plan Advisory Committee

The Advisory Committee will meet Tuesday night at 6pm at City Hall to discuss the proposed land use plan portion of the comprehensive plan update. This draft was prepared by advisors from Kimley-Horn, who will be on hand leading the discussion to obtain advisory committee feedback. It's important to note that this plan is still in draft form, as it has not yet been formally adopted - this means, you still have the opportunity to be there and provide feedback!

Thumbnail image of the draft land use plan that can be clicked to go to the agenda page

Board of Commissioners

The BOC will meet Thursday night at 6pm at City Hall - here's a look at what's on the agenda, which will be published fully on Tuesday:

  • The first reading of the Fiscal Year 2024 Annual Budget will be presented for ordinance approval.
  • In follow up to Mayor Roman's recent resolution to acquire the Econo Lodge property, a first reading ordinance to formally appropriate the necessary expenditure funding will be up for approval. 
  • Two resolutions are presented for operational approval by the Public Works function - to contract for janitorial services at City Hall, and to acquire an additional work truck.
  • Mayor Roman will also present a resolution to authorize the City Attorney and me to negotiate for the potential purchase of property in the Lakeland Gateway TIF District to support the facilities needs of the Sheriff's Office. 

To Be Continued...

As always, please email me at with any concerns you may have. We are all at City Hall here to serve you, and I hope to see many of you out and engaged this week in our meetings as we work together in this business of making Lakeland be the best City to live, work, or play! 

In Your Service, 

Michael Walker, City Manager

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