Award, sign ordinance on city’s agenda

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 28, 2001

Presentation of a national award, approval of changes to the city’s sign ordinance and a hearing on the Watkins Street Cemetery will top the agenda today at the Natchez Board of Aldermen’s meeting.

Representatives of the U.S. Conference of Mayors will be on hand to present city officials with a livability award. The honor was announced in June at a U.S. Conference of Mayors convention in Detroit.

&uot;I don’t know that you can say enough about what this (award) means for our city,&uot; Mayor F.L. &uot;Hank&uot; Smith said Monday. &uot;The good publicity you get from that – I&160;don’t know that you can put a dollar figure on that.&uot;

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Among other things, the designation could help Natchez recruit industries, Smith said.

The award was based on the city’s much-touted LUMPS, or Large Unused Municipal Properties, program, created in the early 1990s to refurbish and utilize an abundance of vacant public buildings.

Aldermen are also expected to vote on proposed changes to the city’s sign ordinance. On Aug. 16, the Natchez Planning Commission voted to recommend the changes.

The proposed changes would increase the size and number of signs businesses could erect while better spelling out the requirements for certain types of signs, such as temporary signs and banners.

&uot;These changes are designed to make the ordinance more clear and give business owners more flexibility&uot; in the type, number and size of signs they will erect, said Assistant City Planner Gretchen Kuechler.

One proposed change would increase the maximum size of a wall-mounted sign from 7.5 percent of the area of the building’s first two stories to 10 percent.

Another would allow businesses to erect wall-mounted signs on the sides of their buildings as well as the front. That could be done as long as the second sign was no bigger than 10 percent of the area of the first two stories of the building’s secondary facade.

Other changes would address such things as signs in residential districts and signs for multi-tenant business properties.

Also in today’s meeting, a hearing will be held to discuss ways to better maintain the Watkins Street Cemetery.

Lack of upkeep of the cemetery, where grass is sometimes knee-deep, is a concern of nearby residents, Police Chief Willie Huff said in a recent aldermen meeting.

The Board of Aldermen will meet at 6 p.m. today in the council chambers on Pearl Street after a 4 p.m. Finance Committee meeting.