County amends land development codes in compromise with city

Published 8:30 am Wednesday, April 6, 2022

The Lafayette County Board of Supervisors has approved amendments to the county’s Land Development Standards and Regulations in a compromise with the Lafayette County Planning Commission and the City of Oxford.

Applicants for pre-applicant reviews, preliminary site plan approval, final site plan approval, preliminary plat approval, final approval and variances must apply by the 15th of the month before the month the applicant wishes to appear before the county Planning Commission.

If the 15th falls on a holiday or weekend, the filing deadline is extended to the next business day.

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Director of Development Services Joel Hollowell said the county Planning Commission requires more time than their standard three weeks to review applicants’ requests. This would extend the planning commission’s review period by two weeks.

The City of Oxford is expanding its utility services one mile outside the city’s limits in an effort to serve the Punkin Water Association’s customers. The Planning Commission has asked the board to require developers to follow the city’s site plan and subdivision plat requirements if they are using Oxford services within those limits.

“This would only be in the City of Oxford service areas,” said Hollowell. “It doesn’t allow it anywhere else in Lafayette County.”

In addition, any development where lots are half an acre or smaller inside Oxford’s service area must have curb and gutter and comply with all appropriate state classifications and regulations. All side lots will have drainage or utility easements, dedicated for public utilities, extending five feet on both sides of the lot line. 

Stormwater detention, an issue both Lafayette County and Oxford are grappling with, was also changed to fit the city’s standards. 

Stormwater detention must be sized using a rational formula and calculated by a licensed engineer. Detention structures will have to be sized for a 25-year flood frequency with areas prone to flooding and all detention structures for developments receiving Oxford utilities must be designed to include 2-year, 10-year and 25-year flood events.

Before the supervisors approved this amendment, the city of Oxford has enforced its development regulations anywhere inside its utility service areas.

“Wherever their utility service areas are, they have been enforcing those,” said Hollowell. “The city does not want to enforce its regulations outside of the mile. They simply asked us to amend our regulations to include these few things and we felt like it was a good compromise.”

Supervisor David Rikard expressed his stance against the amendment stating that he did not expect the amendments to fall under the county’s purview.

“I’m not in favor,” said Rikard. “I’m all for Punkin Water, but I thought we were handling this under a different issue.”

According to Roberts, the city initially wanted to extend out eight miles past the city limits but that was not an option. After talks, the county and city came to a compromise on their service territory and what regulations would apply there.

“After going through the building regulations with the city and with us, there was not a whole lot of difference,” said Roberts. “The city pretty much agreed to all of our requests. We recognize that we’re allowing them to work within their mile.”

Supervisors Larry Gillespie and Rikard voted against the amendments to the Land Development Standards and Regulations and supervisors Roberts, Brent Larson and Chad McLarty voted in favor.