Develpment code review a welcome step from city

Published 4:13 pm Wednesday, March 21, 2007

In recent months the City of Natchez has become fond of closing its doors to the public.

From the Roth Hill development to the pecan factory, our leaders make decisions without us.

So an effort by the city planning department to welcome the public and answer some questions is overdue and appreciated.

Email newsletter signup

The city’s zoning code has been revised, and the board of aldermen will soon vote to approve or reject the changes.

Planning officials will be available in their office from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. today and Thursday to answer questions.

It’s great to see the open door, but do you know what questions to ask them?

The code changes are relatively unknown to the public. They include the elimination of “open land” zoning, the addition of villa residential districts and a special category for large, business developments.

To most residents that jargon might as well be written in Greek.

Having the city planning office seek out public opinion and doing so by opening up their doors for the better part of two days is refreshing.

The planning department is well intentioned, but the effort will only become effective if the city leaders take the time to publicly explain the changes, why the regulations were changed and how the changes affect city residents.

Essentially, telling the taxpayers why they should care would go a long way toward making the changes truly effective.

If the changes are important, the public will listen and respond.

Open doors can be an amazing thing in city government and we’re pleased that the city is making a good effort in this direction.