Merchants take crash law course

Published 12:00 am Thursday, April 10, 2003

Tuesday night business owners had questions. Selma had answers.

A number of city employees ranging from police chief to city attorney spoke to business owners Tuesday night explaining a variety of codes, ordinances and laws everyone must obey. Business owners also heard a message from Mayor James Perkins Jr. &045;&045; on working together.

George Evans, president of the City Council, agreed. Evans said he had recently visited New Orleans and found numerous thriving businesses in the French Quarter. There is no reason that couldn’t be recreated in Selma on Water Avenue, he added.

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Perkins said business owners needed to know the

various ordinances of the city. One of the meeting’s speakers, Selma Police Chief Robert Green, said some problems he sees include businesses selling alcohol to minors, minors being in a business they shouldn’t be and crowds getting out of control. Loud noise has also become a frequent complaint.

Henry Hicks, code enforcement officer for Selma, said one big problem was signs being posted to utility poles, trees and road right-of-ways. He encouraged business owners to contact his office and make sure they weren’t violating city ordinances when they post signs.

Fire Chief Henry Allen told business owners he wanted to keep a good relationship with them. He didn’t want the fire department to intimidate anyone, but instead wanted his office to have an open-door policy.

Fire Inspector Greg Lewellen joked about his role for the city.

As fire inspector, Lewellen checks up on businesses and makes sure they’re up to date on code requirements &045;&045; requirements that change as often as every six months.

City Attorney Jimmy Nunn explained several different reasons why the City Council can deny a business a liquor license &045;&045; the potential nuisance it could cause, a zoning violation, the detriment caused to nearby neighbors, or the detriment to public safety and welfare being just a few.