City leaders don’t understand property issues
These days every business manager has to be looking for every possible way to make a profit.
Here at The Yazoo Herald the best way to do that is to produce a newspaper that people want to read and that advertisers know people are reading. We’re doing that to the best of our ability, but I’m always having to look for an extra way to save a buck or generate some new business.
The Mayor and Board of Aldermen may have provided such an opportunity last week. By including the need to produce rental income to the nonsensical list of excuses they accept as “hardships,” the board created a great opportunity for us.
The Yazoo Herald owns a rather large lot beside our building on Grand Avenue. Currently it’s only an expense as we keep the lawn maintained and pick up all the beer bottles our neighbors like to throw over the fence during their frequent celebrations.
Instead of the lot being an expense there is now great opportunity. I’m thinking we can fit nearly a dozen of those FEMA trailer-style campers on the lot. Instead of it being an expense, suddenly it’s a great income producing opportunity.
Now the Mayor and Board of Aldermen (except for Ward 2 Alderman Jack Varner, who was absent from the meeting due to illness and probably got a whole lot sicker after hearing of his colleagues’ actions) might argue that my desire to establish a trailer park right in the center of town isn’t the same thing as the request they approved last week.
But wouldn’t they be discriminating against me? Wouldn’t they have to apply the same rules?
That seemed to be the warning issued by city attorney Sarah O’Reilly Evans who made it clear that the board was setting a potentially problematic precedent. Her warning was of course ignored. No one was really surprised because our city leaders just don’t seem to see the big picture when it comes to property issues.
Granting exceptions to carefully crafted zoning ordinances for just about any reason is a big mistake, and I don’t think any of them realize why.
When they grant exceptions to business zoning districts, they argue that it’s to promote business.
They may in fact be making it a little easier for someone to open a business by allowing the individual to set up shop in the middle of a residential neighborhood. But at the same time it cheapens the value of the area actually zoned for business, and it makes the residential area less desirable. In the end you’re losing more than you gain every time.
The same thing goes with mobile homes. There are zones where they are permitted, but they should be limited to those areas. Residents have a legitimate interest in protecting their property values, and the city should share that interest as the taxes on those properties is what pays the bills.
Elected officials need to realize that one of their most important responsibilities is managing real estate. When you look at the most prosperous cities in our state, they have leadership that totally understands this concept.
Take a look at Madison, where the building code standards are so high that even gas stations are built on a grand scale.
I’m not suggesting that Yazoo is in a position to demand the same standards as Madison, but we can certainly do a lot better. We need to start demanding that our elected officials get serious about enforcing zoning ordinances, requiring property owners to maintain their property to the standards established by the city’s ordinances and cleaning up those properties that have been long neglected.
It’s time to put the needs of those who take pride in their property over those who make excuses for negligent people while once beautiful neighborhoods become slums.
It’s time to start creating neighborhoods that people want to move to rather than neighborhoods that those with the means to do so are leaving as fast as they can.
It’s time for Yazooans to realize that we all deserve just as much respect from our elected leadership as citizens get in Madison, Ridgeland or any other town in Mississippi.
Why should we deserve any less?
Last Updated (Tuesday, 21 May 2013 19:17)