Jan 15, 2014 10:23 Hammond council delays action on proposed Unified Development Code Hammond council delays action on proposed Unified Development Code Vic Couvillion| Special to The Advocate Jan. 15, 2014 Comments HAMMOND — The City Council delayed a vote Tuesday on the Unified Development Code after residents and councilmen raised complaints about portions of the lengthy document. City Planner Josh Taylor told the council the almost 300-page comprehensive document was unanimously approved by the city’s five-man Planning Commission and had the blessings of the Hammond Home Builders’ Association. Taylor explained that the development code “pulls together the various ordinances that the city operates by on a day-to-day basis for developing property.” Taylor added that the proposed code provides a clearer direction for developments in the city. When the measure was introduced at an earlier council meeting, Taylor said the new code would clarify a number of city ordinances regarding property development that had accumulated over many years. He said that in some cases, ordinances “fought against each other.” However, some questions about the proposed code brought about considerable discussion. Hammond resident Louise Bostic questioned why the proposed development code would allow building single-family dwellings with 50-foot frontages in some zoning districts. Bostic, who formerly served on the city’s Zoning Board, said the council had set a 65-foot minimum frontage for single-family dwellings. Other concerns were raised by council members, including proper tree protection to garbage can regulations. The council will bring the matter up for more discussion at its next meeting, and council members were directed to direct their concerns to specific items in the code so the Planning Commission does not have to begin another review of the lengthy document. The proposed code would retain the city’s 21 different zoning districts along with four “overlay” districts where property owners have some say in development in their respective neighborhoods. The districts will be renamed and renumbered if the document is approved at the next council meeting. Also Tuesday, Public Works Director Buddy Ridgel told the council that a pilot program utilizing new 90-gallon garbage containers will be started in the Hooks Drive area later this month. Ridgel said the containers will be provided free of charge to residents of about 70 households. Garbage will be collected on Tuesdays during the trial period, Ridgel said, and the system will be evaluated after the pilot program is completed. He said the system, if successful, could result in better garbage collection in the city. In a related matter, Mayor Mayson Foster said garbage collection fees will increase slightly beginning with the next billing period. Residents will pay $12.24 monthly for garbage collection, up from the present rate of $12.03. Foster said that with the rate hike, which is based on the annual increase of the consumer price index, customers will still be paying less for garbage pickup than was paid four years ago. Councilman Bobby Martin was elected as council president for the coming year. Councilman Johnny Blount was elected as vice president.