Planning Department working on guidelines for downtown murals – Mississippi’s Best Community Newspaper

NATCHEZ — The City of Natchez’s planning department, under new city planner Frankie Legaux, is working on a set of guidelines that, if approved, could pave the way for murals in the historic district of Natchez.

However, these guidelines must be approved by the Mayor and the College of Aldermen, as well as individual applications approved by the City Preservation Commission.

Taylor Cooley, a professional photographer, owns the building at 631 Franklin St. in the city’s historic district, which she uses as event space, as well as to house her photography business. She began efforts to get permission from the city to add a mural to the side and back of her building more than a year ago, she told the city’s preservation committee. city ​​on Wednesday evening, when they filed his application.

Natchez Mayor Dan Gibson said he was not opposed to the idea of ​​murals per se.

“The Town of Natchez has a long-standing policy of adhering to our Preservation Ordinance, which establishes guidelines for approving renovations and alterations to properties in the Historic District,” Gibson said. “This applies to paint color, exterior alterations and even landscape changes where historic plants and trees may be affected.

“The overall goal has been and continues to be to maintain the historic fabric of the city, which is truly one of a kind,” he said.

The mayor said he thinks everyone is sympathetic to the desire to add murals.

“But as mayor, I have to defer to the ordinance and the process. This means that the preservation commission is ultimately the authority.

Preservation Commission member Mac Hazlip told Cooley on Wednesday that the commission was unlikely to approve his mural.

“It will be a difficult climb for this council to approve the murals. It’s going to be tough to get downtown murals approved in the historic district,” Hazlip said.

“I am very happy that the city, under the direction of our urban planner, is now looking into this issue. I have been told it is too early to discuss any guidelines they might recommend to the Mayor and the College of Aldermen, so in the meantime I ask everyone to be patient. I would like to remind everyone that until such guidelines are established, we must all adhere to the rules currently in place.

Gibson said the city is aware that violations of the ordinance have occurred in the city.

“We are grateful that the city now has a new planner whose goal is to ensure that our ordinances are followed and enforced,” he said. “We understand that she is reviewing all orders and all cases where breaches may have occurred and we look forward to seeing the situation wherever it arises addressed soon.”

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