Council finds a need to change subdivision’s zoning

Published 7:00 am Thursday, October 20, 2016

Picayune’s City Council discussed a potential issue concerning the current zoning of a subdivision during Tuesday’s meeting.
During discussion of joining of two lots along Longstreet Lane in the Heritage Oaks subdivision Councilors expressed concern that the current zoning of that subdivision is R-2, meaning a duplex, or some other non-conforming structure, could be constructed in an area intended for single-family homes. Gouguet said the way the area is zoned could lead to another situation similar to what happened in the Westchester subdivision.
Gouguet said that the Westchester subdivision situation occurred shortly after the city annexed the area. He said when an area is initially annexed into a municipality, it is automatically zoned as agricultural. As a result a small nursing home housing about five people began operating in the neighborhood. After the city received complaints, the problem was resolved by rezoning the area R-1, and relocating the nursing home to an area on West Canal Street, Gouguet said.
Mayor Ed Pinero said the only reason the nursing home was able to operate in Westchester during that time was because the covenants set forth by the homeowner’s association had expired. However, Heritage Oaks has covenants in place that would prevent a similar situation from occurring.
City attorney Nathan Farmer agreed that the subdivision should have covenants in place, which would prevent such construction.
Even so, Code Enforcement Officer Tom Milar agreed that Heritage Oaks should be rezoned, saying that since the city has no authority to enforce covenants, they are bound by zoning.
Due to the foreseen problem, city officials will contact the home and landowners in the area to see if they would like to have the zoning changed to R-1.
In other business, Councilor Tammy Valente commended the Picayune Police Department and School Resource Officer Chad Dorn for bringing the Picayune School District’s Campus Security Council back.
Shane Smith, general manager of the Picayune Wendy’s, said his effort to organize a Trunk or Treat event at Friendship Park is going well. He has added several businesses to the fold, and has several more expressing interest. The event will be held Halloween night from 5 to 8 p.m.
The next Council meeting will be Nov. 1 at 5 p.m. in City Hall.

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