Zoning laws give power to protect

Published 7:00 am Saturday, December 21, 2013

There are currently no zoning laws in place for properties in Pearl River County. In the past, the topic of introducing zoning laws has caused much controversy. Some people say they don’t want the county dictating what they can and can’t do with their property, but some people have problems that could be fixed by zoning laws.

Bonny Evans, a county resident in Lumberton, has spoken to the Board of Supervisors several times about Verizon Communications placing a cell phone tower on the edge of her property.

Both times she has stood before the board, she has been told the county has no control over that construction because there are no laws in place that would prevent Verizon from building near her property.

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Evans said the tower is being built on her neighbor’s property and he has given Verizon permission to build on his property.

At a supervisor’s meeting in Dec. 2, board president J. Patrick Lee said, “If we had ordinances or zoning, we could have said ‘no this is too close to residences and we don’t want it put there.’ Now with the situation we’re in, if we do that, then we’re liable for a lawsuit.”

This is not the first time the issue of cell phone tower construction has come up in conversations in the board meetings and it won’t be the last.

While people want fewer laws dictating what they can do on their properties, there are also reasons those laws exist.

Those laws are not there to hurt residents. They are there to help residents and give county officials power to fight for their constituents.

Instead, all the county officials can do right now is listen to the complaints of property owners and just reiterate, “There is nothing we can do.”