County considers change to subdivision laws

Published 10:38 pm Monday, March 23, 2009

With the acceptance of the roads in two more subdivisions to become county-maintained thoroughfares, the Pearl River County Board of Supervisors discussed the possibility of tightening the regulations regarding the time when the developer no longer is responsible for the roads and county assumes full responsibility.

As the codes read now, once the county accepts the roads, the developer only warrants them for the next 365 days. However, District 5 supervisor Hudson Holliday said that while in the past the developer would more than likely have most of the new subdivision built out, thus testing the durability of the roads with the heavy equipment and delivery trucks, in today’s economic troubles, developers may not be able to sell the lots.

“I think in the future, (the code) needs to be more than a year, like 50 percent build-out” said Holliday. “With today’s economy, there may not be another house built there this next year.”

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Holliday said that the true test of the roads happens when the cement trucks and contractor traffic travels the roads. If houses in the subdivisions are not selling, Holliday said, that year could pass and before the county knew it, it could be saddled with inadequate roads. The supervisor said he believes the new amendment should apply to new applicants, not ones already in the process.

Director of Planning and Development Ed Pinero agreed with Holliday’s suggestion, telling board members that he wanted to sit down and talk with them, get a general idea of what they wanted, and then formally present to the board a possible amendment. “I was going to present that to the board,” Pinero said. “And if we can come up with a consensus such as a 50 percent build-out, I can present that at the next board meeting.”

Pinero said that for the subdivision roads being accepted by the board at yesterday’s meeting, the developers have a bond in place for any unforeseen issues with the roads during the one year warranty period. Continuing, He said that before the county actually takes over full responsibility for the roads, another visual inspection would be done and a separate board vote would have to be held to formally accept them.

“Before taking totally over, it will be re-inspected and then there has to be a separate board order,” Pinero said.

The roads accepted are Phase II of the High Point subdivision and Phase I of the Old Mill Landing subdivision.

In other business:

— Acknowledged $146,102 in cash forfeitures seized by the Sheriff’s department, as well as six vehicles.

— Discussed the continued need for a county-wide dog catcher, noting that as necessary as the need, money for the position needed to be allocated in the budget.

— Approved Poplarville Central School District bus turn-arounds, as well as those for Picayune school district with the exception of one that may be in Hancock County.

— Acknowledged receipt of a letter from Mississippi Emergency Management Agency concerning the agency’s intention to start selling MEMA cottages to the occupants. Pinero warned the board that he was aware of a Louisiana business selling damaged cottages, so he asked the board for permission to proceed with permitting only existing owner-occupied cottages until the board can set in place restrictions to prevent damaged cottages from being set up and used as living arrangements.

— Heard from members of the Red Cross thanking the board for its continued support. Bill Brent, with public relations for the agency, said it had its first real run this past year with hurricanes Gustav and Ike. Brent told the board that the Red Cross has in place 16,000 ready to eat meals, 500 cots and water. The agency also purchased an emergency shelter trailer that will be kept near the Pearl River and Hancock county line.

— Acknowledged the April 13 deadline for the bids for re-stripping of several county roads, including John Amacker Road.

— Tabled a decision for funds for Pearl River Valley Opportunity, an organization that helps low to moderate income county residents with, among other things, energy payment assistance, rental assistance, weatherization, and prescription drug assistance. The organization is under direction of a new director, the Rev. Johnny Ball.

— Agreed to help the Pearl River Central Athletic Association with funds and or manpower and equipment for the athletic fields located in McNeill. The playing fields, concession stands, and rest rooms are in disrepair.

— Increased allowed accrued compensatory time for county employees to 160 hours from 80. In election years, the comp time, which substitutes for overtime, must be cashed in by March 31, and stops accruing June 1 of the election year.