Tie vote throws incentives issue back where it started
June 28, 2001
Behind the scenes maneuvering by a defeated mayoral candidate, the failure of the chairman and two other members to appear, aggressive opposition by a member whose term has expired and a shortsighted view of what it will take to attract residential development in Meridian.
Those were four bizarre elements of a Planning Commission meeting Tuesday at which a proposal to help Meridian grow failed on a tie vote. Three of nine commission members, including chairman Jenifer Buford, did not bother to attend.
As a result, a proposal that has been under review for the last year in consultation with developers and home builders who seem to want a new partnership with the city and can make it work is now in limbo, tabled "until further notice." It's hard to make any sense of the commission's action, given Meridian's population decline and shrinking tax base.
Conventional wisdom should include finding innovative new ways of attracting residential construction to the city. Yet, now, it's apparent that conventional thinking won't get the job done.
While the commission fiddles with the proposal, builders are building lots of new houses in Lauderdale County. They have no more incentive to build new homes inside city limits than they did a year ago.
For the three members of the planning commission who voted for responsible pro-growth, indeed, for others here whose vision supposedly includes new housing, it's a frustrating shame.