Mississippi City’s New Ordinance Allows Older Homes to Rebuild After Disaster

January 14, 2015

The Oxford Board of Aldermen has approved a new ordinance that allows owners of older homes to rebuild after a natural disaster, even if the house doesn’t meet current setback codes and other newer regulations.

City Planner Andrea Correll tells the Oxford Eagle many homes and structures in Oxford, Miss., were built before certain zoning laws were put on the books or before the community’s Land Development Code was adopted. The code created mandatory setback requirements on property lines.

However, if a structure built prior to the adoption of these new regulations was damaged by a natural disaster, by law, the structure would have to be rebuilt under the city’s existing laws, which could drastically change the feel and look of the property.

“I have wanted to rewrite this section to enable rebuilding after a natural disaster. A good example of why this amendment is needed would be that many structures on our beloved courthouse square are non-conforming,” Correll wrote in the planner’s comments on the ordinance amendment presented to aldermen this week.

“I do not want to disallow anyone the right to rebuild after a natural disaster,” she said.

The change will to allow the owners of nonconforming structures to rebuild the structure as it was before the natural disaster. Natural disasters include, but are not limited to, earthquakes, fires (not arson), floods, hurricanes or tornadoes. It also includes the term “straight-line winds,” which was added after the Oxford Planning Commission reviewed the ordinance change.

The ordinance change will take effect 30 days.

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