Jackson County Leaders Learn About Smart Code

Sandy Sorlien has an eye for good urban architecture. She's spent her life taking pictures of it. So it's no wonder when she found out about "Smart Codes," it was like love at first sight.

"As a photographer, I was reading it and it was very visual to me. I could picture how these communities could look. The kinds of places this code could preserve," Sorlien says.

On Thursday she made the case for new urban design before city leaders in Pascagoula.

"This is the way to do this," Sorlien says. "Conventional zoning has separated uses so that commercial and residential can't be near each other. This code allows for mixed use, therefore you do not have to drive everywhere. Now look at how much open space is left over."

Space that would normally be taken up by hundreds of thousands of parking spaces.

"Now we are so car oriented that the parking is in front of everything, therefore the pedestrian realm is miserable because you're always walking by parking lots," Sorlien says.

"People in my age group getting ready to retire or for young families just starting out. There is a market for this style of living," Montgomery's city planning director Kenneth Groves says.

Groves says the Smart Code concept is the wave of the future.

"Downtown is more lively at lunch now, "Groves adds.

Pascagoula City Councilman Robert Stallworth hasn't been convinced just yet.

"There are a lot of good possibilities," Stallworth says.

He likes the mixed use of downtown, but also says he doesn't like for the area to become too congested. He says he'll need a bit more time to learn about Smart Code.