When I came to Hazlehurst in 1973, I was surprised to find the county had no county-wide building code, no code enforcer, no land use plans, no zoning, etc. When I suggested such things would be a good, progressive idea, I was met with skepticism. For many years I advocated for the county to adopt a plan for orderly growth but got nowhere and finally gave up trying.
Years later, people started building homes near chicken houses that had been in place for many years. Chicken houses come with flies and the new homeowners in the neighborhood crammed into a county commission meeting to complain. But, with no land use plan in place, there was little that could be done.
Last week, the county commission meeting was crammed again, this time by homeowners understandably upset because mobile homes were being moved into their brick-and-mortar neighborhood.
I’m not an attorney but it seems to me it will be difficult to stop mobile homes from being placed in their midst because the county has no zoning plan, no land use strategy.
Without such plans, someone could probably put up a chicken house in the neighborhood, or a hog farm, or a honky tonk.
It’s been almost 50 years since I first suggested orderly growth in Jeff Davis County was a good idea. That was not an idea that was ahead of its time in 1973, and it’s certainly not a novel idea today. It’s the 21st century and I, for one, think it’s time we caught up with the rest of the world.