HAMMOND — The City Council on Tuesday declined to act on a proposed resolution that would have given official council endorsement to the recently completed Hammond Comprehensive Master Plan and Future Land Use Map.
The comprehensive master plan, which has been under discussion for the past two years, won final and unanimous approval from the city’s Zoning and Planning Commission on June 2.
The commission’s director, Ginger Fortson, in asking for council endorsement of the document, said Tuesday night that the plan would not be a matter of law. However, she said that any future zoning changes must reflect the plan’s vision.
Fortson said the next step in beginning implementation of the plan was to gain council endorsement, submit a copy to the state’s Division of Administration and have a copy of the plan filed with the Tangipahoa Parish Clerk of Court’s Office.
The final master plan and future land use guide was written by Dover, Kohl & Partners, a professional firm that works with political entities to design master plans and future land use guidelines.
In devising the master plan, the firm’s experts consulted with Hammond residents on many levels, held numerous meetings and two public hearings.
Councilman Jason Hood said that while he felt confident that the plan was well designed, he said that he had not been given the opportunity to study the document in detail and was handed a copy of the plan only just before the meeting.
“I don’t think it’s fair for the council to be asked to vote on something this important until we are given a chance to study it in detail,” Hood said.
Councilman Mike Williams agreed with Hood and noted, “a lot of people put a lot of work into this plan and I want more time to take a thorough look at it before endorsing it.”
Councilman Lamar Marshall said that he had personally worked with the team writing the plan for the past two years. He noted that the council was “not making law” with the plan merely offing its endorsement and added that the Planning & Zoning Commission had done a thorough job of writing the plan. He called for passage of the resolution.
Joining Williams and Hood in voting to table the matter was Councilman Bobby Martin. Councilman Johnny Blount joined Marshall in opposing the move to table.
Following that vote, Marshall called for tabling a companion resolution which would have had the council president appoint a council member as a liaison to work with the Planning and Zoning Commission to help implement the comprehensive master plan.