Board continues discussion on smart growth

Published 6:36 pm Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Smart growth has been a hot topic at the last two board of supervisors meetings.

The point of a smart growth is to provide a plan for housing, infrastructure and effectively build those things while catering to the diversity of Pearl River County.

County Administrator Adrain Lumpkin said that a smart growth plan would have to cater to the diversity of this county, since there are more urban settings in the south end and more rural settings in the north end. Such a plan would not set a uniform method of developing the entire county.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Phase I of the plan was complete during the last administration, and Mickey Lagasse with Camp Dresser and McKee presented to the board with the booklets. The booklets contain CDM’s study results with planning suggestions, said District I Supervisor Anthony Hales.

Lagasse gave the board examples of what Hancock County went through when they implemented their smart growth plan, and the pains they endured. One notable example included a liquor store proposed for construction in between two churches. Implementation of zoning kept that from happening.

District III Supervisor Hudson Holliday expressed his opposition to zoning and the urbanization of Pearl River County.

“I really have a problem with a government determining where people are going to live, I really do,” Holliday said. “Zoning has really gotten to be a dirty word.”

Lagasse said there would not be a need to zone the entire county, but zoning could keep industrial areas away from residential areas such as Hide-A-Way Lake.

“Smart Growth means it’s ya’lls smart growth,” Lagasse said.

In the end the board approved a motion to take the smart growth plan under advisement and extend a contract with CDM for 90 days until the board can discuss the matter at length.

Pearl River County will kick off the clean up task force campaign at 10 a.m. Friday at First Baptist Church of Picayune, said Planning and Development Director Ed Pinero. Poplarville will kick off the campaign at an undetermined time and place.

Sen. Billy Hudson spoke with the board about the goings on in the legislature. He touched on topics including radar for sheriff’s departments, inventory tax and Medicare.

While the radar bill passed in the Senate, the House of Representatives killed the bill, Hudson said. The bill will be resubmitted and Hudson said he will ask every sheriff he knows to support it.

Overhaul of state taxes is underway, and one of those overhauls involves getting rid of inventory tax. Hudson said he is opposed to getting rid of the tax, since it would devastate Forrest County government. He asked the Pearl River County board to ask their senators how much the county would lose if the proposal went into effect.

Recently Gov. Haley Barbour filed papers to cut Medicaid if holes in the funding are not fixed. Hudson said he is concerned about this and a compromise needs to be established.

“We can’t just throw Aunt Bessie out of the rest home,” Hudson said.

Veterans who go to the county veteran’s office to discuss their problems with Cindy Smith are concerned about a minimal level of privacy. Jim Searcy spoke to the board about the possibility of finding a more private location to locate the office. The board said it will look into finding another location with more room and more privacy.

Dilapidated structures in the county are a problem that Holliday would like to rectify. He asked what process needs to take place to begin action on the problem. Pinero said that the county would need a right of entry form and a right to demolish form. Board attorney Joe Montgomery said that each landowner would need to be notified that property has been deemed a public nuisance. Tax Assessor Gary Beech said if the county pays to have the home demolished, then that cost would be attached to the landowner’s tax bill.

The board went into executive session to discuss personnel, legal matters and economic development. When the board came out, no action was taken on the personnel matter or the legal matters. The legal matters pertained to lawsuits against the jail. The economic development topic dealt with a biofuel business considering a location in Millard. Lumpkin said the board decided to provide an access road to the proposed property, if the business chooses to locate there.

In other business the board;

— Approved signing a Home Grant document releasing grant funds to two Habitat For Humanity homes on South Haugh Avenue in Picayune.

— Declared next week as Rodeo Week.

— Approved hiring a janitorial staff member at the jail.

— Approved financing a Ford F150 for 36 months with BanCorp South for $11,000 to replace Hale’s old truck.

The next meeting is at 9 a.m. July 28.