City, county examine rules for communication towers

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 17, 2000

Anticipating a significant rise in permit requests for telecommunication towers, city officials are revisiting existing policies while the county looks to establish some of its own.

Within the last month, both the Natchez Zoning Board of Adjustment and the Adams County Board of Supervisors placed moratoriums on requests for tower variances.

Just last week, the supervisors met for an informal discussion on the subject, and the zoning board tabled two tower variance requests while denying two others.

Email newsletter signup

On Thursday, representatives of the city and county Supervisor Lynwood Easterling undertook a &uot;fact-finding mission&uot; to Jackson, meeting with officials there about their regulations on telecommunication towers.

&uot;We understand that communications towers are the future … but there needs to be some kind of control over it, and that’s what this meeting was about,&uot; Easterling said. No regulations exist now for towers erected within the county but outside city limits.

Assistant City Planner Gretchen Kuechler said the city is interested in patterning some of its policies and practices concerning towers after those of Jackson and neighboring Madison.

Natchez Police Chief Willie Huff said he was impressed by camouflaging techniques used in Madison, including one tower made to look like a pine tree, complete with branches and pine needles.

Huff said he is interested in improving communication for law enforcement.

Along with public safety, local government is also interested in the &uot;economics&uot; of communication towers, Easterling said.

Several years ago, the City of Jackson began charging wireless communication providers rent for space on towers owned by the city, Kuechler said.

Service providers may erect a tower on land owned by the city free of charge, but the city then obtains ownership of the tower. In return, the provider pays a reduced rent until the cost of the tower is recouped. The city also charges full rent of other providers who wish to co-locate on the tower.

City Clerk Donnie Holloway said the city will now take a closer look at available spaces for communication towers and &uot;see if we can make some money for the city.&uot;