Haughton discusses proposal for town planning office

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By Stacey Tinsley, stinsley@bossierpress.com

Haughton residents received more information last week regarding a proposal to create an office that would regulate growth in the town.

A public meeting was held on Monday, April 1 to discuss proposed legislation sponsored by State Rep. Dodie Horton, R-Haughton, to create a metropolitan planning commission (MPC) for the Town of Haughton. The office would also regulate the area within five miles of the town limits in conjunction with the Bossier Parish Police Jury.

In attendance to answer questions from the public were Horton, Town of Haughton Mayor Jack Hicks, State Treasurer John Schroder, Bossier Parish Engineer Butch Ford, Bossier City-Parish MPC director Sam Marsiglia, Bossier Parish Police Juror Glenn Benton, Police Juror Bob Brotherton, Police Juror Mack Plummer, and aldermen from the Town of Haughton.

Prior to Monday’s public meeting, Rep. Horton expressed her enthusiastic thoughts regarding the proposed legislation.

“When you have unprecedented growth, there’s no way a town like Benton or Haughton has the expertise available to them to manage that growth. (This would give them) access to engineers, zoning experts, and more,” Horton said. “This would be a good thing for Haughton. It is a very smart move.” 

An MPC gives citizens the ability to voice their concerns about zoning changes near their property. 

Also the MPC boards are staffed by citizens; two appointees of the town’s choosing, two appointees of the BPPJ’s choosing, and one joint appointment.

The MPC will not have the power to change current zoning designation as all current zoning will be grandfathered. 

Permits needed for construction inside the town limits would still be pulled with the town and for construction outside the town limits would be pulled with Bossier Parish. A set fee schedule would be established for making applications to the MPC.