CATEGORY: Lee County



By Philip Moulden

Daily Journal

SALTILLO – The Saltillo Board of Aldermen and mayor have approved the town’s first zoning ordinance, hoping to instill order in the community’s rapid growth.

The ordinance, which capped almost two years of work, will take effect in early March.

“We were concerned about the future of Saltillo and its growth, because we are one of the fastest-growing places in the state of Mississippi,” Saltillo Mayor W.K. Webb said. “We’re just trying to make Saltillo a better place to live.”

Webb said officials had been able to solve most complaints, although at least one business was left in non-compliance status, the mayor said. Under “grandfather” rulings, the business can continue operations, but if it closes in the future, or suffers damage exceeding 50 percent of its cost, it could not resume in the same location.

“We wanted to be fair with them (residents), but we felt Saltillo needs zoning because of the growth. We just decided we needed something,” the mayor said. “It’s the first time this has happened in Saltillo. The people approved. It was voted on in an election …”

The ordinance will help assure residents that after they build, future development in their neighborhood will be compatible, Webb said. Previously, any use could be made of any property throughout the town.

The only prior controls were based on individual and often legally questionable ordinances. For instance, some uses would be granted only if all adjacent property owners approved – a widely enacted provision in many smaller communities but one that many legal experts concede is probably unenforceable.

“I think people will be tickled with it (the new law) because they’ll know what they can do with their property. Now if people infringe on (zones), we can do something about it legally,” Webb noted.

The ordinance establishes five residential zones, including one (MH) that permits mobile homes. The others call for single-family homes (R1 – 12,000-square-foot lot minimums); single-family zero lot line (R1A – 4,000-square-foot minimums); one- or two-family dwellings (R2 -10,600 to 12,000 square feet); and, up to four-family dwellings and apartments (R3 -7,000 to 30,000 square feet).

It also sets light and heavy commercial zones (C1 and C2) and industrial zones (I), and sets a 10-acre minimum for “planned unit developments,” which could hold a mixture of uses.

The ordinance does provide for variances and conditional uses to address unforeseen circumstances. Individual cases must be approved by the board.

“Before they (people) plan to build, they need to check with the mayor’s office, because there is a lot of difference,” Webb said.

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