Restrictions on the painting of murals in the city of Corinth may soon enter the picture.
The Board of Aldermen has enacted a moratorium on murals until the board reviews and potentially adopts some rules for painting images on the exterior walls of buildings. The motion was made by Ward 1 Alderman Chris Wilson, who said he received a number of calls from citizens who expressed concerns about the painting of the proposed Mississippi flag on a wall near the railroad tracks on Tate Street. He said the intent of regulations would be to “safeguard against some stuff getting put up that might offend people.”
Mayor Tommy Irwin agrees it is something the board should consider.
“Murals are hot items now,” he said. “They’re putting them up all over. I think they should go through some type of process. Sometimes, in the times that we live in, some things are not appropriate.”
Ward 2 Alderman Ben Albaraccin said a person who makes a large investment in a property “should have some protection knowing that not anything can be painted on the wall but something tasteful across from him.”
Ward 3 Alderman Chip Wood expressed concerns about government interference in speech and property rights.
“You guys don’t want solar panels. Now you don’t want murals,” he said. “I don’t want Corinth to become the city of, ‘a place you can’t do things.’”
As for what is appropriate, he asked, “Are we the tasteful police?”
A review and permit process for murals is not uncommon among municipalities. Typically, they require an applicant to maintain the mural for a minimum period of years. Some limit murals to non-residential zones, impose limits on sizes and limit the amount of text that may be included. Some require the paintings to be original, hand-rendered works with no copyrighted images.
Some cities that have historic districts also require a historic preservation review.
The building department is gathering ordinance examples from other municipalities to consider.