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Finding the right balance

Balance is crucial in life and most definitely in a community. Trying to find that balance is a never ending job it seems in Lafayette County.

When I first came here just over a year ago, one of the first things I was told and found out for myself is that housing is one of the biggest issues facing the community. And finding that balance between developing housing, providing basic needs and keeping a community happy falls upon a few who are charged with a difficult task.

On a regular basis, developers have come before the county planning commission seeking permission to create another housing development. More often than not, they’ve been recommended for approval to the county board of supervisors who make the ultimate decision.

Often times before the supervisors make their final decision, residents from the affected community show up to voice their concerns and even plead with the board to prevent a development. I have yet to see someone from the community come before the supervisors and say what a wonderful new subdivision it is being planned or what a great asset the new subdivision will be to their community.

Usually the supervisors will approve a development as long as it meets the new subdivision regulations that were passed. This week, the supervisors were faced with some more planned housing developments during their regular meeting, only this time, the board denied the expansion of a proposed development. Their decision wasn’t based upon the plans that were presented to them, but rather based upon the health and well-being of the residents who would be impacted.

Folks in the Twelve Oaks subdivision have complained on several instances during the time I have been covering the county planning commission and county board of supervisors. They are upset with the constant development that impacts their everyday life in some way, either construction crews, concrete trucks  or busted up roads have caused them problems. But their biggest issue is the inconsistency of the Twelve Oaks Utility Company that provides them water.

The water system has been hampered by regular water line breaks since so much digging takes place during a development. That’s to be expected, but often times the break in the line has not been relayed to the residents to boil their water when the water does come back on. It has become a health issue and a majority of supervisors decided the developer should not go forward with the next phase of his development until the water issues have been resolved or on track to becoming resolved.

There is no doubt housing is a necessity in the fastest growing county in the state, but making sure that housing is being done properly and the health risk of residents is not put in jeopardy is a top priority of county officials. Balancing the two is a tough job and one I do not envy for those who must make those tough calls. But in this case, I believe they got it right.

Rob Sigler is managing editor of The Oxford
EAGLE. Contact him at rob.sigler@oxfordeagle.com.