Leaders may be wasting commission’s time

Published 11:54 pm Tuesday, October 16, 2007

We’re glad the Natchez Planning Commission is taking the time to review city codes.

But unless the Natchez Board of Alderman is ready to change its ways, the planning commission may be wasting its time.

As evidenced in 2005 city code doesn’t mean much if the aldermen decide they don’t like it.

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When the condos on the bluffs — a project that seems in permanent limbo now — and the convention center hotel were in the works, Natchez aldermen decided the code on riverfront building heights needed to change.

Previously, no building more than 38-feet tall was allowed. The aldermen raised the limit to 75 feet to accommodate their projects.

At the same meeting the aldermen eliminated the city’s system of checks and balances, changing the preservation ordinance so that any appeals of things like building heights went to the aldermen, not the third-party circuit court.

The aldermen were greeted with literal boos from the crowd in 2005, and the boos should still stand today.

Monday night, the planning commission discussed changing the city code to what it used to be — a 38-foot limit on building heights.

For a historic, tourism town with unstable bluffs, 38 sounds like a good limit.

But, what if a development comes in next year and decides they’d like to be 75 feet tall? Will the aldermen overrule the planning commission again or change the rules on a whim to fit the latest and greatest development plan?

Our mayor and aldermen have made a mockery of rules, laws and regulations time and time again.

We hope their ways have changed. But like the little boy who cried wolf, unfortunately our city leaders may have no credibility left.