Natchez aldermen hold off on tower law changes

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 14, 2001

Natchez aldermen did not take any action on proposed changes to the city’s communication tower ordinance, but they extended a moratorium on applications for the towers.

&uot;Several folks have looked at the ordinance and have some questions they’d like some consideration on,&uot; Mayor F.L. &uot;Hank&uot; Smith said at the board’s Tuesday meeting. &uot;I don’t think any of us are comfortable approving it this week.&uot;

City planners David Preziosi and Gretchen Kuechler were both out of town Tuesday.

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The board will take up the ordinance again in two weeks.

The moratorium and the changes to the ordinance were prompted in part by controversy over several proposed towers in the city.

Among the major changes in the ordinance:

— Antenna towers would no longer be permitted by right in B-1 neighborhood business districts. They are permitted in B-2 general business districts and in I-1 industrial districts.

— Before receiving a permit, tower applicants would have to pay the city a performance bond to cover more than the estimated cost of demolition and removal of the tower. That way, the city would have the funds to dismantle the tower if it is no longer used or abandoned.

— Towers could be up to 250 feet tall. The current limit is 200 feet.

— City-owned property would be subject to height and setback requirements but not to zoning requirements.

In other business at Tuesday’s meeting, the board:

— Heard from Natchez Police Chief Willie Huff that &uot;Operation Past Due&uot; was a success. During the two-month effort, officers – Craig Godbold and Greg Jackson – worked to serve the police department’s past due warrants.

&uot;This was a remarkable feat for these two men to do this,&uot; Huff said.

From Jan. 17 to March 7, the officers, along with other officers in the department, served 357 warrants, including 22 felony warrants. One hundred twenty-four people were arrested, Huff said.

— Approved Huff’s suggestion that groups wishing to solicit for charity events in city roadways be restricted to the non-traveled parts of the roads.

— Approved immediate repairs to a sewer line at the bean field next to Natchez High School. The line was damaged in recent heavy rains, and City Engineer David Gardner said the Natural Resources Conservation Service has agreed to pay 95 percent of the estimated $50,000 cost of repairs.

— Heard from city attorney Walter Brown that he has prepared a resolution regarding a tax exemption for Titan Tire. At its last meeting, the board voted to approve the tax exemption, which will save the company about $57,500. Aldermen approved the exemption with the added stipulation that the company inform the city before moving any of its equipment from the Natchez plant.

— Heard from Brown that he has prepared a resolution asking the Natchez-Adams School Board to rename Natchez Middle School for late educator Robert E. Lewis and the school district’s multi-purpose building for late school board member Dr. David Steckler.