City planner calls for sign removal

Published 12:55 pm Saturday, June 4, 2022

NATCHEZ — One of Frankie G. Legaux’s first actions since returning as Natchez City Planner was to enforce a city code regarding non-compliant signs advertising various businesses.

Legaux, who previously served as the city’s planner from October 2012 to July 2015, started the job again on Thursday and immediately addressed the code violation in a public statement.

“It has been brought to the city’s attention that temporary off-premises, non-conforming signs have been posted throughout the City of Natchez advertising various businesses,” she stated. “Posting of these signs is regulated by the Natchez City Code, Chapter 86. The signs posted are in violation of the Natchez City Code and should be removed immediately. In a spirit of cooperation, the City of Natchez will delay taking any action for a period of one week to provide an opportunity for the voluntary removal of these signs. However, beginning Thursday, June 9, 2022, any signs that are in violation of the City Code will be removed, pursuant to Section 86-61, and any violation will be enforced, which may include a misdemeanor charge and a fine of $100 per day for each offense. Thank you for your cooperation in this matter.”

Email newsletter signup

Legaux could not be reached for comment on Friday.

According to the city code, which Legaux referenced in her statement, temporary signs such as the business advertisements that have shown up around town in recent months, can be removed by the city’s enforcement officer without notice and any cost associated with its removal “shall be at the expense of the property owner.”

“If you look around, you’ll see signs all over the city advertising various businesses,” Natchez Mayor Dan Gibson said, responding to this notice. “You can’t fault people for wanting to advertise their business, but if we were to allow every business in this city to do so we would be overrun with signs. Our ordinance is very clear that it is not allowed.”

He added there are some exceptions to this rule, such as temporary signage that gives tourists directions to places of public interest such as special events or entertainment on specific dates. The ordinance also states that these signs cannot be placed for longer than eight weeks in any calendar year. However, many of the signs in question are advertising permanent businesses.

“Our city planner has decided to go ahead and address this issue,” Gibson said. “Our ordinances are only as good as the enforcement and we have had a history of not enforcing our ordinances as well as we should.”

Gibson said if anyone has questions about whether their signs violate the city ordinance, they should contact the city planning office at Natchez City Hall.