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CEFCO has recently built new stores in Paris, and another is coming to the 2500 block of North Main Street. The store received plat approval from the Paris Planning & Zoning Commission on Monday.

A wealth of new construction planned for the coming months in Paris received the attention of the Planning & Zoning Commission on Monday, as did the detailed work of the city’s new director of Planning and Community Development.

A CEFCO convenience store in the 2500 block of North Main Street, a Farmers Bank & Trust building in the 3000 block of Lamar Avenue and a yet-to-be named fast food restaurant in the 3400 block of Lamar Avenue all received plat approval.

The commission also approved a 22-lot housing subdivision in the 1400 block of 6th Street SE, an unnamed new business plat in the 1800 block of North Main Street and duplexes in the 800 block of 20th Street SE. Plats came with provisions for such things as utility easements, sidewalks, buffering requirements, drainage plans, fire hydrants and more, which got the attention of commissioners. Recommendations now go before Paris City Council for final approval.

“I noticed with the plats we got this time around there are a lot more revision recommendations than we’re used to seeing,” chairman Chad Lindsey noted, adding, “Is this just a coincidence that they’re all on the same agenda or is this something new?”

“This body has to take action within 30 days of receiving plats, so we’re trying to capture what conditions we can for revisions so that you can move forward,” Director of Planning & Community Development Andrew Mack said, explaining in the past revisions were handled at the building permit stage, but requiring them at the platting stage gives property owners advanced notice of requirements.

Mack also commented on the number of plat approval requests on this month’s agenda.

“They’ve been keeping us all busy,” Mack said. “It’s a good sign showing positive growth and development in the city of Paris.”

A discussion only agenda item, Mack explained a plan to rezone property north of Graham and Pine Bluff streets currently zoned as a central downtown historic district to a commercial district, which has less restrictive requirements. The idea received favorable response from commissioners, with plans to bring the change back at a June meeting for a public hearing.

“It’s going to allow a car wash at 305 Main St. and a car lot at 903 Main St.,” Mack said, noting plats for both businesses already have approval, and a request for a food court is waiting in the wings.

The planning director also floated the idea of adding a requirement for restrooms, portable or stationary, at food truck sites, which initiated lengthy discussion and met with opposition from commissioners.

“I’m just imagining driving down Lamar Avenue and Collegiate, one of our busiest intersections and seeing porta potties out all the time,” Lindsey said, while Sims Norment asserted, “I think we should leave it as is.” Currently, food trucks owners must furnish a statement that workers have permission to use nearby public restrooms. With further research suggested, Mack said he would bring the item back at a future meeting.

Prompted by a referral back to Planning & Zoning from Paris City Council, commissioners discussed implications of a zoning change request from one-family dwelling to office district for Morningside property along Southeast Loop 286. If a sales contract now in effect goes through on the property, the zoning request will be voided. If the sale is not completed, however, the request comes back to Planning & Zoning.

With reference to the Morningside request, commissioners began a review of what type businesses are allowed in office district zoning. The commission will continue discussion at an upcoming special meeting before making zoning change recommendations to City Council.

Mary Madewell is a staff writer for The Paris News. She can be reached at 903-785-6976 or at mary.madewell@theparisnews.com.

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