Mississippi Land Use Planning (1-MS-a)
Land Use Planning Process
1-MS-a.1 to 1-MS-a.2 — Is there a Comprehensive Land Use Plan in Place?
The developer should check the local government website, or contact the municipal or county clerk, or planning board to determine if there is a comprehensive plan in place.
Mississippi law empowers, but does not require local governments to develop comprehensive plans to manage development activities. Miss. Code Ann. §§17-1-3(1) and 17-1-11(1)(a). Local governments may establish procedures for the “preparation, adoption, amendment, extension and carrying out of a comprehensive plan.” Miss. Code Ann. §17-1-11(1)(a).
Municipal and county comprehensive plans provide context for determining if the proposed development activity is compatible with the community’s overall plans for development.
If there is a comprehensive land use plan in place, the developer should review the plans and any accompanying maps, studies, or other information in order to determine the goals and planning strategies of the locality to ensure the proposed project is in compliance with the plan.
If there is not a comprehensive land use plan in place the developer should still review the applicable municipal and county zoning regulations to ensure the proposed project will comply with those development restrictions.
1-MS-a.3 to 1-MS-a.5 – Does the Municipality or County Have Zoning Regulations?
Mississippi law empowers, but does not require local governments to develop zoning regulations to manage development. Miss. Code Ann. §§17-1-3(1) and 17-1-11(1)(a). The developer should first determine whether the municipality or county has zoning regulations. If the municipality or county does not have zoning regulations, then the developer may proceed with the project. If the municipality or county has zoning regulations, then the developers should review the zoning regulations to ensure the proposed project will comply with the zoning regulations.
1-MS-a.6 to 1-MS-a.8 – Determine whether the Project Conforms with Local Zoning Regulations
If the locality has zoning regulations, the developer needs to determine whether the project conforms to the regulations. If the project is consistent with the regulations, the developer may continue with the project as described in the regulations. If the project is not consistent with the regulations, the developer needs to follow the local government’s process for issuing a zoning variance or for amending the zoning regulations.
1-MS-a.9 – Contact Local Government for Zoning Variance or Amendment to Zoning Regulations
A developer should contact the local government, with jurisdiction over the proposed project site, to discuss the possibility of a zoning variance, or an amendment to a zoning regulation and the details of the regulatory process. Mississippi law allows localities to amend, supplement, change, modify, or repeal any “zoning regulations, restrictions, and boundaries.” Miss. Code Ann. §17-1-17.
1-MS-a.10 – Petition for Zoning Variance or Amendment to Zoning Regulations
The developer should petition for a zoning variance/amendment in the manner prescribed by the local government.
1-MS-a.11 to 1-MS-a.12 – Provide Public Notice of Hearing (If Applicable)
The local government must hold a public hearing to amend, supplement, change, modify or repeal any “zoning regulations, restrictions and boundaries.” Miss. Code Ann. §17-1-17. The local government may, by ordinance, require that the public hearing be held before the city engineer or an advisory committee of citizens. A local government may also act upon the recommendation of the city engineer or advisory committee without a hearing. However, “any party aggrieved with the recommendation” of the city engineer or advisory committee will be entitled to a public hearing before the governing body. Miss. Code Ann. §17-1-17.
If a public hearing is required, the local government must provide notice of the public hearing at least fifteen (15) days before the hearing date. The local government must provide notice in an “official paper or paper of general circulation. Miss. Code Ann. §17-1-17.
1-MS-a.13 – Proceed with Zoning Variance or Amendment Process
After the hearing, the municipal or county government and developer can proceed with the zoning variance or amendment process.
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