Proposed zoning ordinance vote held off by Lafayette County Supervisors

Published 5:00 am Tuesday, December 19, 2017

The Lafayette County Board of Supervisors tabled a vote Monday on whether to implement zoning in the county to give citizens a bit more time to review the proposed ordinance.

Included in the vote to table, was a moratorium on any new developments going before the Lafayette County Planning Commission until February to give the commissioners and county planners time to learn the new ordinance, should it pass next month.

Additional changes, albeit small ones, were made to the final draft of the zoning ordinance after the last public hearing earlier this month. Supervisor and board president Jeff Busby said he wanted to table the vote Monday so that the public could review the draft again since the latest changes were made.

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“It’s quite natural to have additional changes when you’re adopting an ordinance of this type,” he said.

Busby suggested having a public hearing at 8 a.m., Jan. 16 before the board’s regular meeting. By state law, the supervisors must advertise the public hearing in local newspapers at least 15 days prior to the hearing.

Supervisor Kevin Frye asked if the supervisors could vote on the ordinance on the same day as the public hearing.

County Attorney David O’Donnell said it was within the board’s discretion to vote on the ordinance on the same day as the public hearing during the regular part of their meeting as long as it’s listed on the meeting’s agenda to consider voting on the proposed zoning ordinance.

Frye made the motion to table the vote and schedule the public hearing for Jan. 16 but added additional wording to the motion that puts a moratorium on any new developments being submitted for approval until Feb. 5.

“That allows folks to figure out what their job is and learn the code without having to deal with new submissions,” Frye said. “Let’s put in a pause. There’s a lot of changes and new information for them to learn.”

The board voted 4 to 1 to table the vote on the ordinance, schedule the public hearing to Jan. 16 and implement the temporary moratorium on new projects. Supervisor Mike Roberts was the dissenting vote, who was against granting the moratorium.

If the zoning ordinance is passed next month, it will be the first time zoning of any kind is implemented in the county.

According to the ordinance. the purpose of the zoning ordinance is to “preserve and promote the public health, safety, morals, and general welfare of the citizens of Lafayette County and of the public generally through the regulation of: the location, height, number of stories of buildings and other structures; the density and distribution of population, size of yards and other open spaces; and the use of buildings, structures, and land for commercial, industrial, residential and other purposes.”

The zoning ordinance divides the county into zoning groups, that have the most restrictions closest to Oxford city limits, and fewer restrictions in the more rural areas of the county. The districts would include Agricultural, Rural Community Preservation District, Residential Estate, Residential Low-, Medium- and High-Density districts, Planned Unit Developments for mixed-use developments, Commercial Low, Medium and High districts, Industrial – light and heavy districts and Special Use districts.