City again tables decision on Falk Steel scrap spot

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 4, 2008

A local business owner and residents of the Falk Steel Road area north of Vicksburg were told once more by the Board of Mayor and Aldermen to wait for a final decision on Robert Keyes’ request to store scrap metal on property at 330 Falk Steel Road.

On Monday, the board removed from the meeting agenda a decision on Keyes’ appeal, which was first heard Oct. 6 and reheard on Oct. 20 after the board and other city officials toured the proposed scrap yard. South Ward Alderman Sid Beauman said the item was pulled from the agenda Monday because the city still needs property maps before a decision is rendered.

Vicksburg Mayor Laurence Leyens said the issue likely would be placed on the Nov. 10 agenda.

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Keyes, who also owns and operates Keyes Recycling on U.S. 61 North, attended the meeting, as did about a dozen area residents and members of two nearby churches who have opposed the scrap yard since it was initially heard by the city zoning board on Sept. 2. The zoning board denied Keyes’ request for a special exception due to the large presence of public opposition, and he is now appealing that decision to the Board of Mayor and Aldermen.  A scrap storage and recycling facility currently operates on Falk Steel Road, which opponents to Keyes’ proposition say has devalued their quality of life and land. Keyes has presented a two-phased site plan to the city’s Site Plan Review Committee, which it has approved. The board is only set to rule on phase one of the plan, which includes storing scrap metal on property that would not be open to the public.

The second phase of the plan — for which Keyes would have to get separate approval from the board at a later date — includes the addition of a metal shredder and opening the facility to the public. The entire 40 acres of land Keyes is proposing to store scrap metal on is located in a repetitive flood plain. Leyens has contended if the board denies Keyes’ request, he could take the issue before circuit court and would likely win the case.

“I don’t think we have any legal basis to deny this,” Leyens said at the Oct. 20 meeting.


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On the agenda

Meeting Monday, the Vicksburg Board of Mayor and Aldermen:

* Acknowledged Betty Moses as the Vicksburg Senior of the Month.

* Rescinded a motion from Oct. 24 reappointing James Burnett to the Vicksburg Planning and Zoning Commission because Burnett still has a year left on his term.

* Accepted a letter of resignation from Mary Lynn Thomas on the Vicksburg Board of Architectural Review and Historic Preservation Commission and appointed Betty Bullard to replace her.

* Authorized H&M Construction to use the northwest corner of the third level of the city’s parking ramp for six months while nearby work is done on the Super 10 building on Washington Street.

* Accepted a $10,000 grant from the Mississippi Department of Public Safety for vehicle occupant protection programs.

* Discussed 10 dilapidated buildings and overgrown lots in the city, and authorized Director of Building and Inspections Victor Gray-Lewis to cut, clean and/or demolish properties, while granting one additional property an extension until Jan. 31.

* Tabled a request for $1,195 for advertising in the Vicksburg-Warren County Chamber of Commerce IMAGE magazine.

* Approved an advertising request for $100 from the American Legion for its 2009 Mid-Winter Conference Program Book. 

* Approved policy guidelines for the Vicksburg Municipal Airport Advisory Board, which outlines the board’s role in advising in advertising, planing and marketing the airport.

In executive session, the board:

* Discussed one personnel matter in the police department and suspended a police officer for three days for failure to perform duties in a sufficient manner.

The next board meeting is scheduled for 10 a.m. Monday at City Hall Annex, 1415 Walnut St.