By Alyssa Schnugg
A moratorium has been put on future development in the area of Lafayette County served by the Punkin Water Association by the Lafayette County Board of Supervisors.
A public hearing was held in May with Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley at the Lafayette County Chancery Building where numerous residents shared their complaints about the water quality and pressure.
Recently, the PCS issued an order stating that the “service rendered is not reasonably adequate.”
The Board of Supervisors approved the moratorium Monday at their regular meeting.
Supervisor and board president Jeff Busby said the Punkin Water Association Board of Directors said they supported the moratorium to give them time to make improvements and “catch up.”
The moratorium states that there will be a temporary moratorium on the acceptance of “will serve” letters from Punkin and no new developments will be considered for preliminary plat approval until conditions improve.
“If you have already received preliminary plat approval, this won’t affect you,” Busby said at the meeting.
However, developers who have received a “will serve” letter from Punkin but have not yet had the preliminary plat approved, those developments will be affected by the moratorium.
The supervisors said the moratorium was decided based on several factors – the complaints received almost daily from residents, the order from the PCS and the Punkin Water board agreeing with the moratorium.
Building Inspector Joel Hollowell said there are five developments that have already been approved that will need to be served by Punkin Water Association, including the Pebble Creek, Old Oaks, Tuscan Hills, Cottages of Highlands and Phase 10 of Highlands.
Punkin currently serves about 820 people.
“We won’t see an immediate cessation of construction since we have things in the pipeline,” said Supervisor Kevin Frye.
One of the improvements being looked at by Punkin is to purchase water from the city of Oxford, about 50,000 to 250,000 gallons of water daily. The city and PWA are currently in negotiations over the proposal.
The supervisors have no authority over the water associations in the county.
Earlier this year, the board submitted a bill to the State Legislature to approve the creation of a utility authority in Lafayette County that would allow the authority to work with the local water associations. However, the bill died in the Senate.
“This board is going to ask for this again during the upcoming session,” Frye said.