A moratorium is a delay or suspension of an activity. Winslet was asked to define new construction by the council, and he said “anything that applies to building such as houses, streets, and roads.”
Winslet told the council that Planning and Zoning is “here to help.”
Calera Planning and Zoning Commission is to help all construction meet both city and state standards so that no sub-standard construction is built. The commission would then take their recommendation to the council and the council would decide to vote for or against certain projects or construction.
The commission is to help clean-up Calera and make it attractive to future businesses and homeowners. Winslet said it isn’t a change that will happen now, but is to “make it better for the future.”
The Planning and Zoning Commission hopes the city will enforce a rule which states that if anyone wishes to build anything new, they must first take it to the Planning and Zoning Commission. Members of the commission will then utilize local resources and make a recommendation to the board. The commission will help ensure construction meets standards, rules, regulations and laws.
Councilmember Brian Norton said “we need a process before any moratorium can be voted on.”
Newest councilmember, James Burnett, agreed and said “we can’t enforce a moratorium without a process to back it.”
Attorney Chris Jones was present for the meeting and advised the board it should look at getting policies in place before implementing a moratorium. He said he is not telling the board to vote for nor against the moratorium, but informing them there should be a set timeline that all things begin so a process and policies could be set in place.
Citizens voiced concern about construction and the lack of policies in order for new developments. Some mentioned projects that are already underway that would be difficult to regulate due to no laws set in place to enforce. They said there are city ordinances that are being broken, but no one to stop them.
The lack of a code enforcer was also brought to the council’s attention. The council responded that they have been looking into their budget, but needs proper policies, procedures, and processes set in place.
The council tabled the moratorium request, asking the Planning and Zoning Commission to make policies, procedures, and processes before taking any further action. After such processes are in place and have been viewed by the council, they will then take action about different steps the commission would like to take.
Winslet asked for the council’s help in developing what was needed. The council referred him to surrounding areas for him to view to help him get a starting point.
Winslet addressed different concerns from both the council and citizens saying the commission “needs a starting point.” He continued to let everyone know planning and zoning “has to start somewhere.”
Patrick Latona, Calera Planning and Zoning Commission chair, said the commission was voted in by the council to help with the flow of construction.
“It’s exciting to be large enough to have a planning and zoning commission,” said Latona.
The statement of purpose for Calera Planning and Zoning Commission reads, “it is the purpose of this chapter to promote the public health, safety, and general welfare and to minimize public losses due to flood condition in specific areas by provisions designed to protect human life and health; minimize expenditure of public money for costly flood control projects; minimize the need for rescue and relief efforts associated with flooding and generally undertaking at the expense of the general public; minimize prolonged business interruptions; minimize damage to public facilities and utilities such as water and gas mains, electric, telephone, sewer lines, streets and bridges located in floodplains; help maintain a stable tax base by providing for the sound use and development of flood-prone areas in such a manner as to minimize future flood blight areas; and insure that potential buyers are notified that property is in a flood area.
The planning and zoning commission will also help zone Calera into three specified areas. Commercial for businesses, Industrial for schools, library, water, fire and police stations, city halls and other educational buildings, and Residential/Agriculture for homes and land.
No action was taken by the board on any request made by the Planning and Zoning Commission. The council requested more information and asked policies be set in place by the Planning and Zoning Commission.
Each issue has been tabled until such policies have been written.