County Commission votes on building moratorium - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

County Commission votes on building moratorium

Shelby county commissioners debated for two hours before voting nearly unanimously in favor of a 6-month moratorium on all development and rezoning permits in unincorporated areas.

Their efforts to bring in municipalities like Bartlett to join the temporary assault on suburban sprawl went nowhere.

"What I'm concerned about is what you said at the end in terms of my responsibility to my constituents and I take that very seriously and I believe that if I misstep in this, impose a moratorium that is improper, then lose in a court of law, we then may have millions of dollars of bartlett taxpayer's money at risk," said Bartlett Mayor Keith McDonald.

This meeting, and the vote, buys county leaders time to work on mapping guidelines and a special unified development code, a plan to control growth in the county and to lesson the debt, in the billions, largely because of new school construction.

Homebuilders President Mack Andrews says the group is neutral for now. They don't like the idea, but say they can survive for six months.

"If the moratorium is held to six months there, is adequate lots, and so I don't think it was a big deal to the board on a six month moratorium," Andrews said.

There is talk that a longer moratorium might be necessary. Commissioners will revisit the issue if the development plan is not finished in time.

Meanwhile, some citizens whose communities have been affected by sprawl are ready for development to slow down.

"Dr. Phil has a question that is appropriate in this situation I believe and that is... How's it been working for you... Well, it hasn't been working too well," said Gray's Creek resident Don Ware.

The moratorium begins on October 28th and runs through April 28th, the date when commissioners will have a chance to vote on extending it.

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