Paris to explore development moratorium

town-of-paris-logoThe Paris Town Board voted Tuesday to explore instituting a development moratorium for the I-94 corridor within the town’s boundaries.

The moratorium would halt new development within the corridor in the town while town officials figure out if they can extend sewer and water service to the area and do other planning.

A development moratorium is provided for in state statutes and can only be enacted via ordinance under certain conditions, explained town attorney Tim Pruitt. The moratorium has to be enacted by an ordinance, be declared needed by an engineer or a public health officer, must be preceded by a public hearing, and must be “needed to address a significant threat to the public health or safety that is presented by a proposed or anticipated activity.”

The entire town would not be subject to the moratorium, just the  I-94 corridor, Pruitt said.

Tuesday’s action was not to enact the moratorium, but just to have town staff investigate the procedure and draft an ordinance, Pruitt said.

While all Town Board members were in favor of researching the process some more, Supervisor Ken Monson was the most skeptical about the worth of a moratorium.

“I’m not convinced that this is necessary for the town right now… ” Monson said. “Right now I’m not seeing the need.”

Supervisor Ron Kammerzelt was more in favor. “I think (the moratorium) is a tool so the right kind of development takes place in the I-94 corridor … It doesn’t have to do with stopping development whatsoever. It’s to make sure we have the right development.”

Pruitt pointed out that the moratorium process outlined in state statutes is lengthy, providing opportunities for the board to change its mind.

“There will be plenty of opportunity to take that action or not , based on what you hear from the public … and the plan commission,” Pruitt said.

State statutes say a moratorium can last a maximum of 12 months, with one 6-month extension allowed. Whatever length of time a Paris moratorium would last would have to be justified, Pruitt said.


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