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Development Services

City of Tupelo

FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

Floodplain

Is my property in a floodplain?
You may either visit the office of the City Engineer to obtain a copy of the Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM), or call and speak with the City Engineer. The City Engineer will determine if your property is located in a flood hazard area. The City Engineer is located on the third floor of City Hall, and can be reached by calling 662-840-2078.

How do I obtain flood insurance?
Anyone in the City of Tupelo may purchase flood insurance, regardless of where their property is located. Local insurance agents will know how to sign up people for flood insurance. The basic requirement will be an elevation certificate furnished by a registered surveyor or engineer which gives basic elevation information about the structure to be insured.

Property

I need work done on my house. Can you help me?
The City of Tupelo has a Homeowner Rehabilitation Program that provides assistance to qualified homeowners within the city limits of Tupelo. Additional information and applications are available by calling Peggy Woods or Zell Long at 662-841-6510.

Can the city help me get a grant to start a new business?
The City of Tupelo does not provides funds to start new businesses. The offices of the Small Business Development Centers can provide information about how to qualify for funds for new businesses. Centers are located at Mississippi State University, The University of Mississippi and The Renasant Center for Ideas.

What are the setbacks on my property?
All lot dimensions with setbacks and coverage for each zoning district are found in Chapter 8, section 1.2 of the Tupelo Development Code.

What can my property be used for?
There are three (3) major zoning uses – residential, commercial, and industrial. Each district has specific standards for developments and uses permitted. These are found in Chapter 8 of the Tupelo Development Code

If my property does not fit the standards that I want to use it for, what can I do?
You may check with the Planning Staff when you apply for your building permit and there may be situations where that the following could apply:
1. A Zoning Change
2. A Major Conditional Use
3. A Minor Conditional Use
4. A Variance
Each has specific requirements and you should check with the staff in each case. These procedures are found in Chapters 5, Chapter 6, and Chapter 7 of the Tupelo Development Code

I want to build a fence. What are the requirements?
See Chapter 12, section l.9 of the Tupelo Development Code. This section breaks out the standards for residential and commercial fences. There are different standards for fences in interior lots and on corner lots depending on the setbacks and the district in which they are located. No fences are allowed in the front setbacks of commercial properties except with special exceptions. Car repair yards must be screened and fenced from the public view. There is no charge for a fence permit but you should always check with the Planning Division of the Department of Development Services, to see if you comply with the setbacks for your district. Fences are always required around swimming pools.

My property doesn’t fit the use or lot dimensions as described for my zoning district. Why not?
The Tupelo Development Code was adopted in 1994 and over the years due to code changes and annexations there are some properties that do not fit. These are called “legal nonconforming uses” and therefore are “grandfathered” into the city. If you have a question see Chapter 16 of the Tupelo Development Code which covers both land and buildings that are in this category. This also covers nonconforming signs. Pay particular attention to section 16.1.6 on changes to nonconformities. If you have any question, please contact the Zoning Administrator at 662-841-6510.

How can I get a copy of the City of Tupelo Zoning Map?
Click here to see a digital Copy of our Zoning Map. To obtain a copy of a specific portion of the Zoning Map, which will include streets and property lines, contact the Engineering & GIS Division of the Department of Development Services at 662-841-6510. You can receive your copy by fax, email, mail, or pick up.

How do I determine who owns a piece of property?
You need to know the address, parcel number, or owner of a property to be able to determine ownership. The most current Lee County Tax Roll information is available from Delta Computer Systems website and the Lee County Tax Assessor at 662-841-9031.

Signs

Are flashing arrow signs legal in the City of Tupelo?
This type of sign is a portable sign and is not legal legal for placement in the City.  See Chapter 12 of the Development Code.

Can temporary banners be used in the City of Tupelo?
Temporary banners can be placed in addition to normal permanent signs in all commercially zoned areas except for the Downtown Overlay District. Banners can be used for a 2-week period once during each quarter year, and a sign permit must be obtained each time the banners are used. There can be a maximum of 75 sq ft of banners placed and the banners must be located at least 15′ from a street or out of the right of way of any street.

Businesses

Does a business have to provide restrooms for the public?
All businesses which have walk-in customers is required by the plumbing code to have restrooms for employees and its patrons. Businesses which are drive-thru only or only serve walk up customers (such as snow cone stands) generally do not have to provide restrooms for customers.

What is the handicap code for restrooms?
The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) is responsible for ICC/ANSI A117.1 standard – “Accessible and Usable Buildings and Facilities.” A copy is available in the Planning Department Office.

Engineering

Do I have to have an engineer’s report on my foundation?
An engineer’s report is required if the structure is located in a suspect soil area as determined by the Engineering Division of the Department of Development Services, and if you will be putting more than one (1) foot of fill under the footing.

Why did my inspection get disapproved?
The work inspected did not meet the minimum standards as set by the 1997 SBCCI code. See your copy (yellow sheet) of inspection report for details.

Permits

What do I need a permit for?
A list of work requiring permits is available here.

What do I need to bring in to get a permit for a new house?
1. A completed construction permit application (can be filled out in office).
2. A site plan showing the setbacks, property lines and location of structure.
3. A list of all the licensed contractor you will be using.
4. The estimated cost of building construction (does not include land cost).

What do I need to do to put a storage building in my back yard?
1. A site plan showing the setbacks, property lines, storage building location, and main structure (house) location.
2. The estimated cost of construction, including electrical.
3. A completed construction permit application (can be filled out in office).

I have my inspection report for my Certificate of Occupancy (CO), now what do I do?
Commercial – Bring copy of approved building inspection report, fire inspection report, and health department report (for businesses serving food) to the Planning Department Permit Counter. You will be issued a Certificate of Occupancy based on the information included in the reports. After receiving your approved CO, you need to go to the Budget and Accounting office located on 2nd floor of City Hall to obtain your Privilege License. After receiving your Privilege License, you need to go to the Water and Light Collections office located on Court Street to get the power turned on in your name.
Residential – Bring your approved copy of the building inspection report to the Planning Department Permit Counter. You will be issued a Certificate of Occupancy based on the information included in the reports. After receiving your CO, you need to go to the Water and Light Collections office located on Court Street to get the power turned on in your name. If you are the owner of the property, you will receive the original hard copy CO for you records. This Co is good for two (2) years. If you are the tenant of the property, you will receive a copy of the CO and the original hard copy will be mailed to the owner.

Do I need a permit to put in a swimming pool?
All in ground pools require a building permit. Above ground pools connected to any electrical device, such as a pump, must have a building permit.

How high must a swimming pool fence enclosure be?
All pool enclosure fences must be 48 inches high. Openings in the barrier (fence) must not allow passage of a 4 inch diameter sphere.

Do swimming pool enclosure access gates need to be self-closing?
Yes. Gates need to be self-closing and have a self-latching device.

Neighborhood Associations

What are the difference between a Neighborhood Association & a Neighborhood Watch?
A Neighborhood Association is a recognized non-profit organization formed by residents in a designated neighborhood or community. The Association works in cooperation with its City Government, its departments and other agencies in efforts to improve their communities through programs, fundraisers and community services provide by the residents in the neighborhood.
A Neighborhood Watch is a program, which can be within the Neighborhood Association or if the neighborhood has not formed an Association, formed by residents who work strictly in cooperation with the local law enforcement agency in an effort in solving criminal related activities in neighborhoods.

What is the Neighborhood Development Corporation?
To revitalize neighborhoods by providing safe, decent, affordable housing, and by creating home ownership opportunities for families through homebuyer and financial literacy counseling.  For more information contact Zell Long at 662-841-6411 or zell.long@www.tupeloms.gov.

Is a Neighborhood Association the same as a Homebuyer’s Association?
No. A Homebuyer’s Association is formed through the residents that are strictly homebuyers in the community that set their own rules and agendas and have no affiliation with the city’s agencies; while a Neighborhood Association has both homebuyer, property owner, and renters that work in cooperation with it’s City Government.

Licenses

Why do I have to have a city contractor’s license since I have a state license?
The General Contractor’s license in Tupelo carries with it a bond that helps provide funds to aid with enforcement of the building codes. The state license does not provide for individual restitution.

What does a bond do?
The funds from a bond are used to cover legal expenses and repairing building code violations. The building inspector notifies the contractor of the corrections that need to be made and then sets a deadline for them to be corrected. The bond is “called” when all methods to correct the problem are exhausted.

How do I obtain a contractor’s license?
Please see the Contractor’s License page on this web site.

Does the City Of Tupelo recognize licenses from other states?
City Of Tupelo law does not allow the transfer of a license to Tupelo from outside the State of Mississippi.

What does the city do about run down property?
Complaints about dilapidated buildings are checked by a building inspector to see if there appear to be any code violations. If so, the owner is notified and a hearing scheduled. At that hearing, the building official decides whether to issue an order for the building to be closed, repaired, or demolished.

Other

What are the neighborhood protection districts and how do they work?
There are five areas where residents have asked to be designated as neighborhood protection districts. In these districts, a residence must be able to pass inspection before utility service is transferred into a new account name. This allows the building inspectors to get code violations corrected before a new owner or tenant occupies the building. Click here for more information about protection districts.

What does Tupelo do to encourage housing construction?
There are tax abatement programs in the downtown area for housing improvements, and a similar program available for new developments in which the average selling price does not exceed $106,270. The Planning Committee has adopted several development code amendments that will also benefit residential builders.

When does the Planning Committee meet, and what is the deadline to submit applications for their agenda?
The committee usually meets at 6:30 p.m. on the first Monday of every month. Applications for their review must be submitted to the Planning Division of the Department of Development Servicesby 5 p.m. on the first Monday of the prior month.

Can Buzz Bee visit my classroom, preschool, or daycare?
Buzz will be glad to visit as his schedule allows. Please contact his assistant, Sherrie Cochran, at 662-841-6510 for more information.

Where can I recycle?
Volunteer recycle bins are located on S Commerce Street across from Metro Fuel Station and at Fire Station #6 on Coley Road. These bins accept newspaper and magazines, cardboard, aluminum, tin, cardboard, junk mail, magazines, telephone books and plastic.

What can I do with my old computers, printers, and stuff (E-Waste)?
All computers, houshold appliances, etc. may be taken for recycling once a year at the Household Hazardous Waste Event held at the Lee County Agri Center in Verona.  This is usually held during the month of April.

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