Zoning issues prove the public speaks

Published 12:00 am Sunday, October 12, 2008

It works. Just like those guys said back in the 1700s, we the people can and do have a say. The point was proved in Vicksburg twice in the past week.

The first issue deals with a request by a scrap-metal recycler who wants to expand his business onto a spot on Falk Steel Road.

Neighbors, about 20 of them, appeared at the meeting of the City of Vicksburg Board of Mayor and Aldermen. They voiced opinions ranging from fear for the safety of their children to noise to litter.

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Members of the city board, who were hearing the businessman’s request after it had been denied by the city’s zoning appeals board, held off on a decision. Instead, members said, they would tour the site for themselves first.

The neighbors spoke, and whether their wishes are granted, they had a voice.

The second proving point came the next day when that same zoning board denied a businessman’s request to open a nightclub on North Washington Street in a building where one previously operated.

Again, a neighbor spoke up, and this neighbor said he knows the businessman and likes him. But, the neighbor said, a nightclub is a nightclub, and nightclubs keep late hours and late hours interfere with his sleeping.

The zoning board said the businessman should not be allowed the exception to open the club. The businessman has 10 days to appeal, so he may yet win.

Nonetheless, the neighbor on North Washington and the neighbors on Falk Steel have spoken and they could and did have a say.