CLINTON — The East Feliciana Parish Planning and Zoning Commission has proposed a solution to numerous errors in the zoning map that was included in the original 2007 zoning ordinance.
Commission Chairman Mike Salmon said the zoning ordinance now requires a landowner with a zoning classification at odds with the property’s actual use to initiate a change through a rezoning request, the same as someone proposing a zoning change for another reason.
The ordinance also sets a fee for rezoning.
If the Police Jury approves the panel’s proposal, however, the commission plans to initiate numerous changes at one time, without the landowners taking action or paying fees, Salmon said.
Following the current ordinance to effect the changes could result in a “hodgepodge” of corrections, he said.
As an example, a 12-lot residential subdivision in the parish, with 5- and 6-acre lots, was mistakenly zoned commercial, Salmon said.
If the landowners moved on their own to correct the oversight, one landowner could disagree or ignore the others’ requests, and the result would be one commercial lot in the middle of a residential area, he said.
“It would take years to do it,” he said.
Salmon said state law gives zoning commissions a wide range of authority, including allowing them to change zoning classifications, with proper public hearings, without the landowners initiating them.
The commission proposes to work with the parish assessor to identify incorrectly classified properties and to determine their proper zoning based on their uses at the time the ordinance was adopted.
“What we’re doing is rezoning it to the particular use it had at the time,” Salmon said. “Most of them will be no-brainers.”
Salmon told the Police Jury on Tuesday that the commission could divide the parish into quadrants to tackle the zoning irregularities and process them in batches grouped by geographic location.
When the research is done for a proposed group of changes, the commission plans to notify the affected landowners by mail and call and advertise a public hearing, Salmon said.
“We want the people to understand what we’re doing and why we’re doing it,” he said.
After the hearing, the commission will make recommendations on the changes to the jury for final action.
Landowners will have the right to appeal the decisions.
Salmon said he became involved in the zoning discussions at the end of the process and cannot say why the map contained so many errors.