County OKs new ordinances

Published 12:00 pm Tuesday, April 5, 2016

While the county moves forward in updating a comprehensive plan, its leaders continue to update regulations regarding growth in the county until that final plan is put in place.

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On Monday, the Lafayette County Board of Supervisors approved two recommendations from the county’s planning commission concerning commercial development. Following public hearings on the matters, the supervisors gave approval for the process of developing condominiums, apartments and commercial complexes and in particular defined how many bedrooms will be allowed per unit on each acre.

The new ordinance will allow four units per acre with no more than four bedrooms per unit for a maximum of 16 bedrooms allowed on each acre.

On the recommendation of the planning commission, supervisors also approved an ordinance regarding burning at commercial site developments. The supervisors changed the wording in the ordinance in charging a $150 fee for the burning permit from “anyone” to “contractors/developers/builders” because the intent of the fee was not to charge or oversee a landowner who is burning leaves or trash on his or her own lot or tract of land.

One homeowner was concerned about the burning permit.

She asked if the county would protect her if a neighbor was burning within her subdivision. Supervisor Chad McLarty told her that the homeowner’s association covenants would fall under those regulations, not the county.

County engineer Larry Britt also informed the supervisors that the subdivision and regulation committee, which made the recommendations to the planning commission, also met last week and had six other recommendations for the supervisors to review.

The committee suggested supervisors review a fee schedule for commercial and subdivision permits, as well as consider TRADE permits to ensure subcontractors, such as plumbers and electricians, are licensed and qualified.

“We are concerned about them getting licensed people to do the work,” Britt said.

County building inspector Joel Hollowell also voiced his concern.

“We really have no idea sometimes who those guys are representing those companies,” Hollowell said. “We just need a way to keep better track of who is doing the commercial work.”

Supervisors agreed to the TRADE permits, but will take up the matter on a fee schedule at a later date.

Britt said the committee also suggested a moratorium on billboards and signs that require permits and planning commission review until an appropriate ordinance is in place.

“We’re getting a lot of billboards in the county since Oxford doesn’t allow them anymore,” Britt said.

The committee also suggested:

•portable restrooms be available on a job site prior to a building permit being issued

•an appropriate-sized dumpster be placed prior to starting any framing

•contractors/developers/builders be responsible for erosion control

According to Britt, county work crews are continuously cleaning up erosion at work sites that spills into roadways. The committee recommended a $500 fine for each day leveed, as well as a failure to comply possibly resulting in a stop work order.

“They need a sense of urgency about cleaning it up,” Hollowell said. “We believe this will create that sense of urgency.”

And finally, the committee recommended churches not allowed to be exempt from current building codes. The supervisors agreed that church structures must comply with the same regulations as commercial developments.

“It’s a safety concern,” Britt said. “We want to protect all of the citizens of the county.”

Supervisors agreed to and approved all the recommendations.