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Leaders OK stricter rules on zoning

WESSON – Soon there will be fewer manufactured houses allowed tolocate in many areas of town, following board of aldermen approvalof a stricter zoning law Tuesday.

In the past, when someone wanted to move a manufactured homeinto the area, all that was needed was approval by residents within400 feet of the proposed site. However, the Central MississippiPlanning and Development District (CMPDD) recently pointed outdiscretions with the town’s arbitrary point allowing anyone within400 feet to object.

“It was noted that the arbitrary (point) was found to benon-compliant with land use laws,” said Mayor Alton Shaw.

Under the new ordinance, manufactured houses that are notalready in place will not be permitted to locate in areas zonedResidential One (R1) or Residential Two (R2), which includes mostof the town. The houses can, however, be set up in ResidentialThree (R3) areas, which consist mainly of trailer parks intown.

R1 is zoned for single family homes. R2 includes duplexes,apartments and single family homes, while R3 does not have anystructural limits, explained Shaw.

Also, in an effort to preserve the town’s deep-seeded history,aldermen approved an ordinance to initiate the creation of aCertified Local Government program, a move recently made byBrookhaven officials as well.

“It’s going to make sure our local historic areas are preserved,and that any new construction fits in with the surrounding area,”said Shaw.

The program is a joint local-state-federal governmental programin which the Department of Archives and History works closely withlocal government officials to help them create and manage aworkable local historic preservation program.

Over 40 municipalities and one county in the state participatein the program, which was created to reward those communities withpreservation commissions who are working toward the preservation oftheir communities’ historic treasures.

Following procedure, a local Historic Preservation Commissioncomposed of five to nine members will be appointed by townofficials.

The commission must follow certain guidelines, includingsubmitting annual reports, meeting at least once every threemonths, and monitoring and reporting to the Department of Archivesand History any activity in the community that affects any propertylisted on the National Register of Historic Places.

Shaw was excited about the community’s involvement, as well asthe many benefits the town will receive, including financialassistance.

After becoming certified, the town may apply for grants that maybe used for educational purposes, architecturalrestoration/stabilization, National Register nominationpreparation, survey work and training for new historic preservationcommissions.

Another effort to bring improvements to Wesson included adecision by the board for the town to apply for financing topurchase a four-acre piece of property on Highway 51. The property,which once housed a Sunflower grocery store, may be purchased for$150,000.

Town officials believe the business venture will be beneficialas they look at possibilities for the site, like developing it intoa retail area.

The approval of a contract with Bailey Cable has assured cabletelevision service to residents for the next 10 years, with thecompany leasing property from the town for $100 a month for threeyears for towers and equipment.

The contract included a $10,000 upgrade from the currentapproximately 30-40 channels to 60 channels by July 1, 2007. Italso states that the company will spend another $10,000 to upgradelines and equipment to meet Federal Communications Commissionstandards.