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Lafayette County Board of Supervisors work over proposed zoning plan

Lafayette County leaders spent two hours Monday working on what could be the first zoning ordinance implemented in the county during a work session at the Lafayette County Chancery Building.

Mike Slaughter, with Slaughter & Associates, presented a draft of the proposed zoning ordinance to the Lafayette County Board of Supervisors, asking for input on any suggested changes or tweaks to the document before taking the ordinance to the public for further evaluation.

Most of the county is zoned Agriculture 2, or A2, which has the least regulations and restrictions and those that do exist only concern developer and not individual landowners. Any developers wishing to create a subdivision – whether it’s a minor, less than 9 lots, or a major, nine or more lots, would be required to have their plans approved by the supervisors. Lot sizes would be a minimum of 1 acre; however, that applies only to subdivisions. Individual land owners can still deed smaller parcels to relatives in wills or build a single-family home on a smaller lot.

Agriculture 1 zoning, or A1, encompasses parts of the county closer to the city limits of Oxford, Abbeville and Taylor and most major highways in the county. Under both zonings, permitted uses are single-family homes, manufactured homes, barns, sheds, breeding and raising livestock, recreation areas and forestry use.

Discussions focused Monday mainly on the A1 zoning which, after a lengthy discussion, supervisors agreed should have a max of two units per acre with 20,000-square foot lots. Major subdivisions would be allowed with special exceptions granted by the board. Minor subdivisions would be allowed without needing a special exception. Developers wanting a higher density would need to ask for a rezoning and would have to prove a need for such a development or a significant change in the neighborhood that warrants such a development.

Slaughter said the main focus of the zoning ordinance is to protect the citizens living in the county from having unwanted commercial or large subdivisions being built in their backyard.

“It adds a lot of control this county currently doesn’t have to protect those people,” he told the supervisors.

Supervisors also discussed mobile home parks and whether there should be a specific zoning for them, and agreed it should be a conditional use in both A1 and A2 zoning.

Also discussed was R3, or multi family zoning. Supervisors set lot sizes to a minimum of 15,000-square feet without clustering and 7,500 square feet with clustering and eight units per acre.

No action was taken since the meeting was a work session. Another joint work session between the supervisors and Planning Commission to further review the ordinance is scheduled for 5 p.m. on July 27.

“It’s a good ordinance,” Slaughter said. “We just need to do some more fine tuning.”