By David Howell
COFFEEVILLE – Adopting land development standards in the county is a step closer after a draft proposal was presented to supervisors during a recessed meeting Monday in Coffeeville. The proposal follows almost a year of work that started last April when supervisors hired Orion Planning Plus Design to implement a long-range, comprehensive plan to help guide future growth in the county while preserving the current quality of life.
At Monday’s meeting Orion Planning partner Bob Barber (FAICP) explained the proposal, if adopted by supervisors, stops short of implementing county-wide zoning and instead will utilize land development standards geared toward specific types of development.
“If you are in the development business, there will be a set of standards with an approval process,” Barber noted. “The way it is drafted, we have a set of subdivision standards where we exempt all agricultural activities. Divisions giving lots to children or family, all that type of activity is exempted,” he added. “If you are in the development business or you create easements or create public roads or private roads, there is a set of standards and an approval process.”
Barber said the plan includes standards for special land use activities to address specific concerns identified during the lengthy discovery process that included research on trends in the county as well as input from county officials and from the public during three community meetings last September.
The special land use activities cited by Barber include manufactured home parks, recreational vehicle parks, gravel mining, salvage yards, multi-family housing developments and auto repair shops.
“Those were the things that came back that were the most sensitive concerns of Yalobusha County,” Barber explained.
Under the proposal, the planner said these types of development will not be limited to specific areas in the county as they could be with zoning. Instead, there will be a specific set of standards governing each of the special use activities. An example cited by Barber was a gravel mining operation, which would require inclusion of buffers so neighboring property owners aren’t overwhelmed by dust and noise.
Barber recommended utilizing the county’s current 911 address office as contact point to alert supervisors if potential development falls under the new regulations. He also recommended that the plan be administered by the Board of Supervisors.
“You are not setting up a commission, you are not setting up another group of people, although that is an option,” Barber explained about oversight for the plan.
His advice also included monitoring the new standards for 12 to 18 months to make sure they are effective.