City should create citizen committee for code enforcement

Published 7:00 am Friday, October 30, 2015

We applaud the city’s efforts to install lighting on Highway 43 North.
The lights will increase visibility and, in so doing, make the area more attractive and safe. These are important qualities for one of the main points of entry into Picayune.
The fact is, there is more than one point of entry into the city we want to be certain those other points of entry will not be forgotten.
Specifically, the city may want to consider giving some attention to Memorial Boulevard. Driving down that entryway, one cannot help but notice numerous signs, some of which violate city codes, weeds and, at the end of the road, an empty gas station.
To be clear, some of these problems are not in violation of any ordinance. An empty gas station might be unsightly, but it’s legal. Weeds and signs, however, are a different matter.
For instance, the city has an ordinance forbidding weeds over 12 inches high on any lot in town for over one week, and yet the lot near the southern intersection of Highway 11 and Memorial Boulevard has been covered in weeds for months. This is far from the only weedy commercial space in the city.
The city does not need to spend a lot of money to beautify its entryways, but it does need to spend more time maintaining and looking after those areas, as they are heavily used.
We understand it is hard to enforce every ordinance because the city’s staff is small. And, as it is, they work hard at their jobs.
Therefore, the city council could set up a volunteer code enforcement committee that has the authority to at least notify offending property owners or perhaps issue citations. The committee would work closely with the city and provide lists of properties in violation of the codes so, if owners fail to comply, the council can vote to take action.
Such a committee could save city employees time, enhance the appearance of the city and develop a force of watchdog citizens.

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