Shreveport City Council members have voted to look into detaching the city of Shreveport from the Shreveport-Caddo Metropolitan Planning Commission.
The resolution, that would be the first step toward the city creating its own planning and zoning commission, passed 5-1, with Shreveport City Councilwoman Stephanie Lynch voting against the measure.
The resolution authorizes the city attorney to research and study the feasibility and legality of creating and operating an internal City Planning, Zoning and Development Department to see if it's a good idea.
It was sponsored by Shreveport Councilman James Flurry. Flurry believes the move would allow the city to negotiate a better deal financially and minimize complaints from residents and business owners. Shreveport pays 66% of the MPC's budget.
Flurry said he was excited about Tuesday's vote. He called it a business decision.
"We want to move forward now. Get some information and numbers so we can make good sound decisions," said Flurry.
MPC Executive Director Mark Sweeney says an internal commission has been studied before. But, he explained, state lawmakers created the MPC to be independent and objective and said trying to exit it could require a trip to Baton Rouge.
Sweeney says wasn't upset by the decision.
"I think it is always wise to look at all the issues," he said.
Sweeney said this will actually coincide with the financial sustainability study the MPC is currently conducting with a consultant. Council approved a budget amendment for that study back in May.
"We'll have our results of our study by September. This is perfect timing for the council to have all the information they need to make very good decisions going forward," he said.
Now that this resolution has passed, the city attorney has to report his findings in 45 days to the Audit and Finance Committee. He must also make recommendations to the Mayor and City Council regarding transitional legal matters with regard to the City governing its own planning and zoning matters within its corporate limits.
Flurry hopes for the resolution to take effect in January. He says that would be the first step toward the city detaching itself from the city-parish panel.
The vote was preceded by a lot of discussion. Councilman Willie Bradford said the study gives the city "options." Councilman Everson noted that this was only a study and said zoning issues often involve "contentious decisions."
Stephanie Lynch said the city has enough on its plate and said she receives many more complaints about other issues.
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