Lakeland board approves new subdivision, promotes special census

Lakeland logo copyLakeland’s city board approved modifications to a new subdivision, got an update on this winter’s abundant potholes, got updates on the city’s special census and discussed a hike in the county fire fee during the March 12 regular board meeting.

Lakeland Commons

The board approved the Lakeland Commons Planned Development, bounded by U.S. 70 on the north, Seed Tick Road on the east, and Memphis Arlington Road on the south. The approved plan is a less-intense version of the one originally denied by the board.

One area (Area D) provided for 35 single-family homes on 4,000-square-foot alley-loaded lots. The revised plan includes a combination of up to 150 single-family townhomes and “mixed-use” buildings (with retail or office space on the bottom floor and residential space above).

Retail and other business spaces could include restaurants, banks, dry cleaners, coffee shops and other establishments. The exteriors will be mostly brick with some use of siding in traditional styling.

David Smith, assistant city engineer, said the traffic volume change for Area D would be an increase of about five percent for the modified plan the board approved. Based on industry standards, the estimated increase would be 37 cars in the morning peak hours and 43 cars in the evening peak hours.

Another revision to the subdivision removes an entry driveway and allows the city to maintain one of its scenic corridors.

See more details at


potholeLike other local municipalities, Lakeland has an abundant crop of new potholes after this winter’s severe weather episodes.

Interim city manager Jim Atkinson put the numbers into perspective with a three-month review of pothole repairs, prepared by public works supervisor Bristol Roberts.

At an average cost of $60.32 per pothole, city workers repaired 39 potholes in January, 56 in February and 99 to date in March (as of March 12). The work takes additional personnel, including flagmen to protect workers during the road work.

Roberts said about 84-86 potholes remained unrepaired as of the March 12 meeting, and top priority is going to the potholes in the heaviest trafficked areas. He estimated that most of the work should be completed this week.

Special census

census-clipboardBad winter weather has delayed completion of a special census, which the city undertook to document an estimated population growth of 600 or more people, based on building permits and other factors.

The numbers are important because the city could receive an estimated additional $80,000 annually in state shared tax revenues based on the city’s official population count (about $125 for each new resident).

Atkinson said the city requested and received an extension through the week of March 15-21 to complete the census work.

As of March 12, the city had not exceeded the numbers noted in the 2010 census but Atkinson said he expects to add more names before submitting the updated census to the certifying agency this week.

Board member Gene Torrey commented on why the board and city personnel are urging residents to participate. “This is not a privacy issue. “We’re not witch hunting. We’re just trying to get new tax revenue for all our citizens.”

Mayor Wyatt Bunker also noted that the city is limited to two census updates each decade and asked if enough people are likely to be added to the census this time to make the update practical. Atkinson recommended proceeding even though the increase may be slight. He said another could be done in 2017 or 2018 if anticipated subdivision growth occurs.

People who have not yet participated in the census can call Lakeland City Hall at (901) 867-2717 for more information.

Fire protection

fire-hydrantAtkinson said he and his staff are looking at options on how to proceed with the city’s fire services now that the Shelby County Fire Department has increased fees for Lakeland by about five percent.

He will present recommendations to the board at an upcoming meeting.

Other business

In other business on March 12, the Lakeland city board also:

  • Approved Plantation Wood Drive improvements over a branch of Grays Creek, to be performed by Landmark Construction, the low bidder at $70,575. For more information, see
  • Approved the purchase of an aerial lift truck from the lowest bidder, Altec Industries, for $84,999. This purchase will allow the city to maintain the tree canopy at a safe height over streets and roads, access control panels of the emergency sirens, and maintain pole lifts, the flag pole and facilities’ roofs without having to make costly equipment rentals. Roberts noted that, during storm recovery periods, rental equipment is not always immediately available because of competition for resources.
  • Heard the city’s February crime report from Lt. Terry Lomax of the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office (see the full February crime report for Lakeland in this issue). Lomax noted the odd coincidence that four of the city’s 17 incidents in February originated at one address on Monroe Road. He also advised the board that the SCSO has 18 newly graduated deputies, all with previous law enforcement experience.
  • Received a briefing from Atkinson on the city’s drainage issues. He said he will bring recommendations to a future meeting on how to address specific citizens’ concerns about drainage issues, and he also wants to start discussing how to handle drainage issues as a matter of policy. Some citizens have asked for help and relief in forcing other property owners to remedy the problems or getting the city to make those corrections, Atkinson said.
  • Deferred action on approving interim city manager Atkinson as the permanent city manager while contract details are being worked out.
  • Discussed sign vandalism at the International Harvester Clubhouse (I.H. Clubhouse), where city seals were stolen from the sign this month. Board member Clark Plunk also mentioned the ongoing work on recommended changes to the Lakeland signage ordinances.
  • Heard an update from Atkinson that the Keep Lakeland Beautiful Commission is short-listing several projects in coordination with the Great American Cleanup this year. Types of work typically included in such efforts are trash pickups, painting of park benches and other projects, Atkinson said.
  • Heard an update on turf vandalism at Oak Ridge Park (4215 Heron’s Landing). Atkinson said research is underway on measures to protect the park’s grassy area from unauthorized vehicle access and damages.
  • Heard a report from Commissioner Torrey on five priorities the city’s Parks and Recreation/National Resources Board identified at its February meeting. The recommended priorities (in no particular order) included:
    1. Adding a practice ball field with a backstop and perimeter fence at Winward Slopes Park for the sole use of T-ball and junior ball practices.
    2. Converting an under-used tennis court to a court for pickleball (an increasingly popular racquet sport that combines elements of badminton, tennis and table tennis).
    3. Adding park signage for educational purposes.
    4. Repairing and replacing surfaces under the children’s ground equipment at Winward Slopes and Zadie E. Kuehl Memorial Park.
    5. Working with the state to bring all the city’s parks into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).