A Charter and Ordinance Committee meeting was held Monday morning at Greenville City Hall to discuss painting permits for the historic building district and privilege licenses.
Headed by Councilman Al Brock and Councilwoman Lois Hawkins, the Charter and Ordinance committee met with chairman Camille Collins and vice chairman Drew Newsom of the Historic Preservation Commission.
The commission’s immediate goal is to spread more awareness about the ordinances in place as it pertains to the buildings and overall aesthetic of the Historic Business District.
“We came in hopes that the ordinance be changed so that paint color be included in the permitting process under the planning department,” Collins said to the board.
According to Mayor Errick Simmons, a color palette has been developed for such buildings by Main Street Greenville.
However, Collins said there are some buildings within the Historic Business District whose paint color would be at the discretion of the Historic Preservation Commission’s approval and many business owners may be unaware.
“We have to get the word out to property owners in the historic business district that you can’t just decide to paint your building, you have to get a permit … but the permitting process does go through the Historic Preservation Commission,” Collins said.
Simmons said they did find in the code of ordinances, “…something that says, ‘including the external alterations of buildings need to go through the certificate of appropriateness.’”
The City of Greenville’s planning department distributes those “certificates of appropriateness” applications as required by the Historic Preservation Commission.
Upon approval, applicants (those wanting to repair, restore or build) are directed to turn them in to Main Street Greenville for further approval, and if the historic guidelines are followed, applicants are then able to receive a permit to do the desired work to the building or structure.
Simmons added the matter is being taken on by the committee for further discussion and to begin drafting the language to include any and all paint colors, or attaching a paint color to the ordinance.
Collins explained because Greenville has to follow certain historical guidelines as prescribed by the state of Mississippi and the Department of the Interior, the Historic Preservation Commission’s aim is to make sure everything in the community appears uniform and aesthetically pleasing.
Greenville ordinance code Sec. 3-221 states, “As a matter of public policy, the city aims to preserve, enhance, and perpetuate aspects of the city having historical, cultural, architectural, and archaeological merit. Such historic activities will promote and protect the health, safety, prosperity, education, and general welfare of the people living in and visiting Greenville.”
Further illustrating the commission’s aim, Collins said, “It’s important that we preserve our historical buildings in the state they were originally built in.”
Attorney Sandra Jaribu-Hill with the Mississippi Worker’s Center for Human Rights discussed the privilege license with the committee in an effort to make sure the city of Greenville takes it a step further as it led the charge for the state of Mississippi to implement landlord/tenant accountability some years ago.
Implementing landlord/tenant accountability helps to ensure common areas meet human decency standards in regard to sanitary sewer conditions, housing conditions and other basic conditions humans live in on a day-to-day basis.
Jaribu-Hill requested of the charter and ordinances committee to require additional language as it pertains to acquiring a privilege license to include workplace conditions, employment conditions and discriminatory language — to ensure no individual is discriminated against.
Simmons’ shared the committee’s general consensus was to support the request and move forward with it.
“We think not only will it create respect and dignity in employment and workforce, but also housing conditions … It will help people to feel good about where they are and change the character and culture of the city,” Simmons said.