- Kaley Green
SHREVEPORT, La. – The Metropolitan Planning Commission voted unanimously to approve of the Unified Development Code at a public hearing in Government Plaza Chamber Tuesday night.
MPC Executive Director Mark Sweeney presented comments from the previous public hearing on Sep. 29. Sweeney assured the public that their concerns had been considered and addressed, and noted some sections of the code were even amended up until two o’clock Tuesday afternoon prior to the meeting.
The floor was then opened to the public for comments and questions about the proposed UDC. Many voiced their concerns about how certain sections of the code and zoning regulations would directly affect them and their business practices if they were not amended. A few even read from prepared speeches, despite the three-minute speaking restriction for each member of the public. Several thanked the MPC for their efforts in drafting and revising this new document over the span of a few years.
After hearing from the public, Director Sweeney presented staff recommendations for amendments to the final draft of the UDC and zoning map.
MPC staff and members discussed whether they should move to vote to recommend the UDC after making several changes earlier in the day, as well as hearing many public concerns only a few moments earlier.
Both Vice Chairman Ronnie Remedies and Board Member Bessie Smith initially said voting on the UDC without taking into consideration all public input they had recently received would be ill-advised.
However, both agreed to vote after Board Member Lea Desmarteau asked Director Sweeney to refresh everyone on how many meetings, public hearings and other events had been held to get input for the proposed UDC over the course of the last two years.
Desmarteau made a motion to vote, which was then seconded. Despite the many recent changes to the final draft, all board members voted to recommend the UDC for adoption.
MPC Chairman Alan Young and Executive Director Mark Sweeney made clear that although the UDC is still imperfect, it will be a living document that can and will be amended to fit the city’s changing needs.
Now, the UDC must be approved by both the Shreveport City Council and the Caddo Parish Commission before it can be adopted to replace the current zoning and subdivision ordinances.