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Lafayette County Supervisors Approve First-Ever Zoning Ordinance

As Oxford grows, Lafayette County grows, too, with residential areas like Plein Air attracting home buyers looking to return to a more traditional and relaxed way of life.

The Lafayette County Board of Supervisors approved their first-ever county zoning ordinance Thursday after hearing the public’s final comments during a recessed meeting.

“This has been a long process,” said Mike Slaughter of Slaughter & Associates, an urban planning firm. “What we have been striving to do is protect our natural resources as best we can in Lafayette County. One reason you want to protect that is there are property owners throughout the county – whether [they’re] living around the Square in Oxford or living in the far corners of the county – that have certain rights, certain lifestyles, certain land uses that need to be protected.”
After nearly two years of planning and several public hearings, the adoption of the ordinance, which was effective immediately, was heavily applauded by the crowd.
With the zoning ordinance in place, buildings, structures and land uses will be regulated “to promote the general welfare of Lafayette County citizens.” The zoning ordinance identifies whether an area can be used for commercial, industrial, residential or agricultural purposes.
A few citizens voiced their concerns about their property’s zoning before Lafayette County resident Don Mason asked that the board adopt the ordinance and handle individual cases later.
“We moved out to the county in early 2004,” Mason said. “We were shocked to learn not only was there no building code … but no zoning either. Let’s get with the modern age.”
“There’s always going to be objections to any kind of change to the way we manage our society,” Mason added. “But the pros and the common good greatly outweigh the objections … So please, I urge you. Adopt the ordinance.”
Ruby Smith Kelly agreed change often comes with objections, but as a lifelong resident she hoped to have some type of “umbrella in which to operate under.”
“Lafayette County has always been my county,” Kelly said. “These changes are part of growth, so therefore, it’s going to be different for us. Those that are born and reared here are not accustomed to zoning … I do urge, as a resident of Lafayette County for all of my life, knowing the change is here, that if we pass this ordinance, this will give us an opportunity to have something to operate under.”
Slaughter recommended the board vote on the individual requests for amendments and then adopt the ordinance. The board approved two of the three requests.
As the public hearing came to a close with no additional comments, the motion was made by Supervisor Kevin Frye to approve the zoning ordinance.
The motion was seconded by Supervisor Chad McLarty, who added, “I never thought I would be here today, but here we are in 2018. This county’s grown leaps and bounds, and we need this [zoning ordinance]. So, I’m going to second it.”

By Randall Haley, associate editor of HottyToddy.com. She can be reached at randall.haley@hottytoddy.com.

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