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Planning Commission faces opposition

KENDRA MAJORS

The Planning Commission gave its final plat approval for the Oak Park subdivision on Thursday, but not without some opposition from a group closely related to the Jones Cemetery.

According to the plat presented to the Planning Commission by the company developing the subdivision, the cemetery was allotted 1.1 acres.

Opponents, though, said the developers have left only about a fourth of an acre fenced in the cemetery. According to Sallie Shipp, a member of the group associated with the Jones Cemetery, said the cemetery originally included 49 graves but now houses only 31. “Tombstones have been removed,” she said, adding that water lines have been run through the cemetery.

Bathrooms and a playground run though the cemetery, Shipp said.

According to Planning Commission Chairman Bill Hopper, the issues presented do not have anything to do with the approval of the final plat. “The plat does indicate that there should be a 1.1 acre cemetery,” Hopper said.

Hopper stressed that the issues brought forth to the commission were not for the commission to handle. “We only approve the planning and design,” Hopper said. “It’s clearly outside this committee,” Hopper said.

It was suggested by the group that the commission postpone the decision.

“I don’t know what basis we would deny it or postpone it,” Hopper said.

“We have to accept it or reject it within 30 days,” Calvin Lott said.

The group is being represented by attorney Joel Williams.

The group was advised to consult with Williams about what the next move should be.

In other business on Thursday, the commission agreed to hold a public hearing on Feb. 26 for the city plan. The location is to be determined.

According to Larry Watts, director of Goodwyn, Mills and Caywood, planners still need to meet with Troy University officials to resolve traffic plans. “We need to be on the same page,” Watts said.

In an effort to help alleviate the mass of traffic through University Avenue, planners are considering diverting traffic to an east to west street south of the university.

One suggestion is to have a through street that would connect Pell Avenue, Park Street, South Brundidge Street and Three Notch Street.

Another issue that arises, Watt said, is the fact that George Wallace Drive would still be relied on to carry north to south traffic.

There was talk of possibly extending a street such as Franklin north to Elm Street, but Watts said rough topography would pose a problem. If Franklin was extended on to Elm then the commission says it might become the preferred choice of travel especially to Wal-Mart. “I feel good about every aspect,” Watts said. “I’ll feel good when we talk to the university.”