Gated community ordinance passes - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Gated community ordinance passes

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JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

In a special council meeting Jackson city leaders help ease the fears of residents wanting some control over the comings and goings in their neighborhoods.

An ordinance approving gated communities passes with certain stipulations.

Soon gates will appear at the entrance of neighborhoods like the Avery Gardens Subdivision on County Line Road.

The Jackson City Council approved an ordinance that allows subdivisions with only one entrance to erect a public access gate.

"Not only for traffic safety calming devices but also for burglaries that have been happening in the neighborhood," said Northeast Jackson resident Mike Malouf Jr.

Malouf lives in a neighborhood off Northside Drive which fits the criteria.

He hopes to soon have a gate.

"I think everybody in the city wants to stay here and I think they all want to fight for their neighborhoods, and this is just one more opportunity we can have to help police and monitor our own neighborhoods," added Malouf.

The ordinance requires that 75% of the property owners approve the gates.

They will also bear the expense of liability, installation and maintenance.

The gates must also have access for emergency vehicles.

But some council members were concerned about the stigma associated with gates as a means of excluding some races of the community.

Ward Five Councilman Charles Tillman voted no saying he was urged by the Jackson Associations of Neighborhoods not to support the original ordinance.

"I represent West Jackson and West Jackson is truly open to anybody that wishes to visit our ward and our neighborhoods," said Tillman.

Ward Two Councilman Chokwe Lumumba also voiced concerns but said he heard no opposition from his constituents.

He said he would support the ordinance after being convinced by Ward One Councilman Quentin Whitwell that it did not have mean intentions.

"Any abuse of this process I'm going to do everything in my absolute power to make sure that if we have to repeal it, we repeal it," said Lumumba.

The original ordinance was sent to the Planning Committee and remains there.

After re-tooling and advice from the city's legal department, amendments were made to the gate ordinance that was introduced by Councilman Whitwell who is chairman of the Inter-Governmental Relations Committee.

The Ward One representative said the ordinance is a great first step for the city.

"We made sure that they were public access gates so that we took away any stigma of privatizing gates... We wanted to make sure that it wasn't open to every single neighborhood in the whole city given that many have multiple entrance points," said Whitwell.

The measure passed four votes to one.

The ordinance goes into effect in 30 days.

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