Lamar Co. imposes moratorium on multi-family dwellings

Lamar Co. imposes moratorium on multi-family dwellings
Lamar County Board of Supervisors passed a moratorium on multi-family dwellings in the county during Thursday’s board meeting./Photo credit: WDAM

LAMAR COUNTY, MS (WDAM) - Lamar County Board of Supervisors passed a moratorium on multi-family dwellings in the county during Thursday's board meeting.

That moratorium, which was passed unanimously by the supervisors, will run from April 21, 2016, to May 21, 2019.

"The moratorium is being imposed in conjunction with a review of the county's comprehensive plan, which serves as a policy guide for the physical and economic development of the county," Lamar County Administrator Jody Waits said.

Supervisors echoed one another in the meeting that growth in the county is not a bad thing; it is just a specific type that the county is interested in.

"We're not trying to stop growth at all, the problem is we have never had anything in place like our subdivision rules and regulations," District 5 Supervisor Dale Lucus said. "The growth we have experienced in the housing and the commercial, we've addressed commercial, we've addressed housing, we have not addressed this particular area and that's what we are doing."

Lamar County Superintendent Tess Smith took the floor in the meeting and addressed the board regarding growth in the county that is affecting the schools.

"Look at Long Leaf Elementary for example, one of our newer schools, a great little K-5 school and there is growth all around the area," Smith said.  "We have an addition to that school that's in the works right now and with the apartments that are going in just in that area; by the time we open the new addition the schools going to be at capacity again."

The current apartment complexes that are being constructed are not affected by the moratorium.

With this in place, the county will also work on its comprehensive plan.

"We are looking at doing a comprehensive plan in basically to slow down the multi-family housing until we can get a better grip on our sanitation departments and the problem we are having there and problems with the schools, it will let us know where these units will be going," Lucus said.

Smith said, "We constantly have to plan for next year, and the year after, and we do try to plan 10 and 5 years out, but with the growth we have seen in the past few years, it's been incredibly hard to keep up, even when you know it's coming, because it gets to where it's a financial burden."

For future developers looking to locate multi-family complexes in the county, the supervisors get the final say.

"At this point, they will not be approved during this time, until we get all our data in and we get the school board and different people in to sit down and get the direction we are going to go with," Lucus said.