Neighborhood meetings to address new zoning

Published 12:00 am Saturday, September 21, 2002

[09/20/02]Vicksburg residents will have an opportunity to direct public planning sessions at neighborhood meetings over the next two weeks.

The first of the meetings will be Saturday in Marion Park.

Ann Daigle, community planner for the city of Vicksburg, met briefly with residents in the Wildwood Subdivision Thursday night and encouraged residents there to attend the charrette, a meeting of designers, city officials and the public to draft a new set of zoning regulations for the city.

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The charrette will begin Oct. 7 at the Vicksburg Convention Center, bringing together designers.

The goal of this second round of planning sessions is to gain public input for a set of codes for each residential neighborhood. Each neighborhood can have its own set of regulations, making public input important, Daigle said.

“I want to try to talk to people about seeing their neighborhoods like it was the first time,” Daigle said.

Seven meetings have been set across the city for residents to learn more about the charrette and discuss prioritizes for each neighborhood.

A new set of regulatory codes, called a SmartCode, will emphasize public places, landscaping and pedestrians instead of suburban neighborhoods and vehicular traffic. The new rules will have to be adopted by the city board and are not expected to affect any current businesses.

“It’s very different than a normal zoning code, and it affects a lot of different things,” Daigle said.

Issues that will be looked at include streets, neighborhood design, sidewalks and potential locations for parks or small shops.

The previous charrette, in April at the convention center, concentrated on main corridors and commercial areas. City officials say they are looking at a draft proposal of the SmartCode developed from those meetings.

The new codes will be the first major revision to the city’s current zoning laws written in 1971. Some adjustments were made in 1996 to accommodate areas annexed in 1990.