Enforcement key to clean, orderly city

Published 12:06am Thursday, July 18, 2013

More than a decade after a fire gutted one of Natchez’s most grand mansions, genuine efforts to save historic property appear to finally be gaining some traction.

The City of Natchez’s renewed effort to begin aggressively enforcing city code violations did something pretty impressive earlier this week — encourage antebellum Arlington’s owner Tom Vaughnan to appear in Natchez Municipal Court.

Nevermind that Vaughan apparently came well after the date he was summons to appear and forgot that he came unannounced.

Municipal Court Judge Pro Tem Tony Heidelberg has given Vaughan until Aug. 19 to make “meaningful” repairs to the once grand, but now dilapidated property.

If Vaughan fails to do so, Heidelberg authorized the city to hire a third-party contractor to clean up the lot — at Vaughan’s expense.

Our only hope is that the city stays on track and doesn’t lighten up on Vaughan and other property owners found to be in violation of city code.

The city — under previous administrations — gave lip service to holding property owners accountable for abiding by city rules and regulations.

We’re happy to see that the current administration has put a firm hand behind the lip service.

Aggressive — and consistent — enforcement of all the city’s rules will make the city a better place for all residents. In the case of Arlington, such enforcement will clean up a mess and potentially save an important piece of the city’s history to boot.