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Public hearing on comprehensive plan tonight

For the last several months, the primary focus of the general election among supervisor candidates was zoning, whether it was needed or not. The topic even came up in a September Lafayette County Board of Supervisors meeting.

Supervisors decided at the time to hire Robert Barber, who is currently heading up the Vision 2037 Plan for the city of Oxford. Barber, who is with the Orion Planning Group, has been reviewing the comprehensive plan the county implemented in 2008, as well as the more recent subdivision regulation. He has been charging the county $130 per hour for advice and consulting services.

Following this evening’s 5 p.m. supervisors meeting, a public hearing will be held at the Chancery Building to discuss what Barber has initially found and if the comprehensive plan needs to be updated.

During discussion on whether or not the county should hire Barber, retiring supervisor Mike Pickens made it clear he did not see a need to review the comprehensive plan and was the lone board member who voted against hiring Barber.

County Engineer Larry Britt and County Attorney David O’Donnell defended the need to review the comprehensive plan that was passed in 2008 and the subdivision regulations that were approved last year. Britt noted that he was tired of arguing with subdivision developers and homeowners over the subdivision regulations and believes some items need to be “tweaked” to make the regulations better.

“We’ve got some things related to some of the newer things that we adopted that I think we need to re-address, see if we did them right or wrong,” Britt said prior to the vote on subdivision regulation. “We’ve got some things that I know we did wrong. Tweak some items we need to do. And I think we need an outside consultant to look at it and get another set of eyes on it.”

O’Donnell said most comprehensive plans are revised every five years.

“I know the guy who did it recommended every five years and he gets a pretty good fee to do it,” Pickens said. “And there’s a reason why he recommends doing that.”

Britt said despite charges, subdivisions rules need to be examined.

“The subdivision regulation review is something where I think we’ve got a few errors,” Britt said. “Some things we need to shore up, get them tighter if we need to, loosen them up if we need to.

“The comprehensive plan, I think has come about more that the city is re-doing theirs. They’re proposing things around town and perimeters that are out in the county.”