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Hearings Will Be Scheduled For Input On Land Regulations

By David Howell


WATER VALLEY – Residents in the county will soon have an opportunity to weigh in on proposed land development standards expected to be implemented in the county after supervisors agreed to schedule public hearings in Water Valley, Oakland and Coffeeville. The hearing dates for input on the proposed regulations will be announced in the coming weeks.

The hearings will follow more than a year of work to implement a long-range comprehensive plan to help guide future growth in the county, work that kicked off in April, 2017, after supervisors hired Orion Planning+Design. Last September Bob Barber, a planner with Orion, coordinated public hearings in all three of the county’s municipalities to solicit public input on potential development regulations.  Input from the public meetings was presented to supervisors in March with a draft proposal, which stopped short of recommending implementing county-wide zoning and instead recommends the utilization of land development standards geared toward specific developments. 

The draft proposal includes a set of subdivision standards where all agricultural activities will be exempt. Divisions giving lots to children or family are also exempt in the draft proposal. But if you are in the development business or if you create easements or create roads, there is a set of standards and an approval process. The draft proposal also includes 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 the public during the 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 – which are identified as the most sensitive concerns of the county. 

At Monday’s Board of Supervisor meeting in Water Valley, Board President Cayce Washington recommended having a second round of public hearings in Oakland, Coffeeville and Water Valley to allow the public a chance to weigh in on the recommendations in the draft proposal.

“I think we should reach out to the community and share with them our findings,” Washington said, a feeling that was shared by other supervisors.

While work continues on adopting the land development regulations, supervisors have issued a stay on the issuance of building permits for the construction of multi-family developments or subdivisions in unincorporated areas of the county. The stay was initially adopted last June and was extended last month to ensure new development will meet the guidelines of new land development standards expected to be adopted in the coming months. 

A public hearing is scheduled at 9 a.m. on June 25 in the Water Valley courthouse for public input on the stay. This hearing is separate from the hearings that will be scheduled for public input on the actual land development regulations.

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