City officials pass moratorium on telecommunications towers

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 14, 2000

After a public comment period turned hour-long public hearing, the Natchez Board of Aldermen voted Tuesday to place a moratorium on telecommunication towers, excluding those applications already pending.

Specifically, the moratorium will not apply to a tower application by Vanguard Towers, LLC, who submitted a site plan for a 200-foot tower on Jefferson Davis Boulevard to the city’s planning department last week, according to City Planner David Preziosi.

The Natchez Zoning Board of Adjustment recently denied an application from Vanguard for a 250-foot tower on the same site and voted to recommend a moratorium to the board of aldermen.

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Under the existing ordinance, no approval is required for towers shorter than 200 feet located within properly zoned areas.

Such a moratorium is already in place for towers outside the city limits the Natchez Metro Planning Commission recently extended a recommendation on a moratorium to the board of aldermen. Based on the recommendation of City Attorney Walter Brown, the moratorium will extend until Jan. 9, the first aldermen meeting of the year.

Businessmen Jack Stephens and Hal Hicks urged the board to move ahead with the moratorium, saying the city’s existing ordinance on communication towers is &uot;flawed&uot; and encourages numerous towers of lesser height over a few taller towers.

Mayor F.L. &uot;Hank&uot; Smith said he agreed with Hicks’ recommendation that a performance bond for the removal of abandoned towers should be included in future land-lease agreements.

Representing Vanguard Towers, Guy Stout, said he has reviewed numerous ordinances in various states and believes Natchez’s ordinance to be a &uot;good ordinance.&uot;

Later in the meeting, the board voted to amend a lease agreement with a water tower maintenance company to allow the company to locate telecommunication antennas on the city’s water towers. In return, the city will receive 70 percent of the the company’s compensation, Brown said.