NATCHEZ TRACE BRIEF
JACKSON – The Mississippi House of Representatives is expected to take up again next week the issue of height restrictions for buildings near the Natchez Trace Parkway.
The House voted Thursday to remove height restrictions on property owners adjacent to the Natchez Trace. Current law prevents property owners from erecting a structure more than 35 feet tall within 1,000 feet of the outside boundaries of Natchez Trace property.
But during debate on a bill Thursday to exempt churches from those requirements, Billy Bowles, D-Houston, was successful in getting an amendment passed to remove all restrictions.
Bowles said people had the right to use their property in whatever manner they saw fit. Discussions on the House floor also included trouble legislators have with the rangers who patrol the Trace where the speed limit is 50 mph. Legislators from Northeast Mississippi normally travel the Trace to Jackson during the session.
The original bill was intended to provide an exemption for churches, specifically Harrisburg Baptist Church in Tupelo. Harrisburg plans to build across from Tupelo High School alongside the Trace. Plans call for the church to have a 45-foot steeple.
Rep. Steve Holland, D-Plantersville, who introduced the bill, expressed confidence it would be changed back to its original form and provide the exemption just for churches. He said Harrisburg’s plans are not in jeopardy.