Two more complaints

Published 5:48 pm Wednesday, March 5, 2008

After three visits to Picayune’s City Council, one property owner still has no resolution for his problem, while a second discussed her problem for the first time.

Tuesday’s city council meeting was Larry VanNattan’s third time to discuss the same problem with the council: a broken fence between his property and GTM Building Supply. The first time, the previous city manager said he would send a letter to the company asking them to rebuild the fence and he would check on the city’s ordinances on the matter. That meeting took place in January. A second discussion with the council in February determined that a fence was required by city ordinances, City Attorney Nathan Farmer said. At that second meeting Mayor Greg Mitchell asked for more information so the council could decide on the matter at the next meeting.

Tuesday, Farmer said he talked with the city’s department of planning and zoning and code enforcement. It was determined that the part of GTM that lies next to VanNattan’s property is zoned R2. Farmer also said he found an ordinance that stated that the department’s building inspector, Shane Whitfield, had the authority to determine if a fence should be erected.

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VanNattan’s complaint has been that ever since Hurricane Katrina damaged the previous fence a new one has yet to be erected, leaving an eyesore next to his home.

The council approved a motion to send the matter to Whitfield for his decision.

Another property owner, Melanie Dillard, came to the council because a letter came to her home concerning the trailer park she owns located at 404 Peach Street. Apparently the trailer park was recently purchased by Dillard and her husband from his parents. According to the city’s code department there have been a number of violations at the park for about the past year including leaking sewage, visible garbage and “bad trailers,” Whitfield said.

Dillard said that since January when she and her husband took over the property they have spent about $20,000 to bring the park up to code. Since then she has not seen a city inspector at the park.

Farmer said a list of violations was provided to the previous owners, but he understands that new owners have taken over the trailer park. He suggested providing the new owners with a list of violations to avoid any further threats to public health.

“If there are problems out there, they have to be remedied,” Farmer said.

Dillard asked when someone would be back out to inspect the park so she can ensure the problems are fixed. Mayor Mitchell asked code enforcement inspectors to visit the park to report on the progress and provide the council with updated information.

In January members of the Millcreek In-Home Service inquired about placing their cookie cart at a new location. Previously the cookie cart was located at Chimney Square, and then Church of the Way after Chimney Square’s demolition. Now the cart has no place to go. Interim City Manager Harvey Miller said he checked on a location for the cart and has found a place at Manna Ministries for a couple days a week. Millcreek in-Home Service asked if there was a possibility to find a place where they could locate five days a week. Miller said he will keep looking for such a location.

The city has received word that it has been approved for five of the six requested storm shutter locations. The $100,000 Mississippi Emergency Management Agency grant will be paid 100 percent with no match from the city. The shutters will be installed on three city fire stations, the police department and the City Hall Annex. Another application for City Hall is currently being considered for approval, said Fire Chief Keith Brown.

In other business, the council went into executive session to discuss contractual matters with MEMA, Hartman Engineering, Mississippi Development Authority, ambulance service, growth management, tax credit and Landry and Lewis Architects. They also discussed three personnel matters and the possible lease of office spaces.

The council decided to table the first personnel matter and take no action on the second. For the third personnel matter, thecouncil approved changes to the employee handbook concerning the change approved last meeting concerning continued health insurance coverage after retirement for five years paid by the employee. No action was taken on the matters with MEMA, Hartman Engineering, MDA, ambulance service, growth management and tax credit. The council approved Landry and Lewis Architects for architectural plans for renovation and roof work planned for the Centraplex.

In other matters the council;

— Approved applying to the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality for a $25,000 grant for solid waste assistance to clean up an existing dump site located off of East Canal.

— Accepted donation of office supplies and cubicles from Chevron to the city’s accounting department.

— Approved a motion for a can shake at the intersection of U.S. 11 and Third Street by Center Stage School of Dance on 9-11 a.m. and 12noon-2 p.m. March 15 and 26 to raise funds for a trip to Disney Land.

— Approved a motion to conduct Picayune Main Street’s 22nd annual street fair from April 4 through 6.

— Appointed Harvey Miller to the Picayune School board for another five year term, ending 2013.

— Approved a request from Mark Gibson to re-subdivide three lots into two properties on Palestine Road.

— Authorized the Fire Department to go out for bids on a new fire station.

The next meeting is at 6 p.m. Tuesday, March 18, in the council chambers.