July 6, 2013 6:37:19 PM
Carl Smith - [email protected]
Supervisors will hold a special meeting July 22 to begin identifying and classifying areas for future land-use designations, a key step in developing a comprehensive plan for Oktibbeha County.
A land-use plan is a state-required element for comprehensive plans, Mike Slaughter of the Oxford-based firm Slaughter and Associates said. The July 22 meeting will allow his firm to receive board input on areas which could be considered for industrial, commercial, residential and agricultural use.
Once suggested land uses are agreed upon, Slaughter said the county inventorying portion of the comprehensive plan will be finished. Public hearings are expected to follow in August, he said.
Since planning discussions began, supervisors have been quick to say identifying potential land uses will not lead to zoning ordinances. The land-use plan will simply serve as suggestions and will lack hard and fast rules.
Slaughter and supervisors said they expect input on the process from Golden Triangle Development Link officials.
"If someone comes in and wants to build a commercial development, they can look through this plan and quickly find the areas that are more suitable for those projects. We want it to be so simple that people can pull out the comprehensive plan, turn to the map and point to those areas," Slaughter said.
"The two most important areas are obviously industrial and commercial. (When developing the land use plan), we'll be looking at everything: transportation, water, sewage. These areas really do identify themselves."
The entire process is about 50 percent complete, Slaughter said. His organization previously met with county department heads and is nearing the point for public hearings and discourse.
The board of supervisors contracted comprehensive planning services with Oxford-based Slaughter and Associates in February. The county previously entered into a deal with the Golden Triangle Planning and Development District for similar services, but delays kept the work from fruition. GTPDD Executive Director Rudy Johnson told supervisors in November he was in favor of Slaughter and Associates handling planning efforts.
Carl Smith covers Starkville and Oktibbeha County for The Dispatch. Follow him on Twitter @StarkDispatch