Council approves voluntary annexation of church property

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, January 20, 2016

DISCUSSION: Councilors Larry Breland and Janice Miller Stevens discuss matters before the city council during Tuesday’s meeting.

DISCUSSION: Councilors Larry Breland and Janice Miller Stevens discuss matters before the city council during Tuesday’s meeting.

A request from a church to voluntarily have some of their land annexed into the city limits and implementation of an ordinance amending the size of residential lots were approved during Tuesday’s city council meeting.

Late last year the church requested the city annex a piece of their land into the city limits. City Attorney Nathan Farmer said during the public hearing held during a recent Planning Commission meeting no one submitted an objection to the annexation. 

Councilor Wayne Gouguet said the church requested the annexation because part of their lot is already in the city limits, while the rest is just outside. After some discussion, the council approved a motion to annex the land.

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Now that the annexation is complete, the city has three to five years to provide city services. However, Farmer said Central Water Association provides water service to the annexed part of the property, which will remain so unless the property owners want to change it.

Non-conforming lots with no structures on them now fall under a new ordinance. Code Enforcement Officer Tom Milar said if the lot meets all the set backs, a structure can be built on it. However, if the lot is non-conforming, or for example is only 50 feet wide, then the property owner would need to seek a variance before construction could begin. 

If two non-conforming lots sit adjacent to each other, then the two lots would need to be joined before a structure could be built. The ordinance prevents lots from being subdivided into two non-conforming lots as well. 

The move was made to fix a problem with numerous properties ending up on the city’s property rolls. Milar said when a lot was non-conforming, the property owner would stop paying taxes on it because nothing could be built on it, leading to it falling into state and subsequently city ownership after the taxes were not paid.

Milar said the change will allow property that was previously abandoned to become useful again. 

The council also approved a motion to allow the Picayune Police Department to enter into an agreement with Language Line Solutions. Capt. Chad Dorn said the service provides the department with access to various interpreters capable of providing translations of conversations into 200 languages.

Under the agreement the service will cost the department .98 per minute. Without an agreement the service would have cost the city $3.98 per minute. Dorn said dispatchers and officers patrolling the streets will have access to the service.

In other business the council:

—Approved the sale of two lots on Rosa Street, lots 101 and 102, to be sold for $3,001 per lot.

— Approved the installation of two ornate aggregate light poles on West Canal at the intersections of Church and Herman streets.

The next council meeting will be February 2 at 5 p.m. in the council chambers of City Hall.