Located in the lush countryside between fabled Natchez to the north and historic St. Francisville, Louisiana, to the south, the small community of Woodville is one of Mississippi’s treasured gems – historically, architecturally and culturally.
Incorporated in 1811, six years before Mississippi became a state, Woodville was thriving when this region was still part of the Mississippi Territory. Through the years, Woodville has retained, rather amazingly, much of its early 19th Century atmosphere – its original courthouse square, surrounded by numerous early 19th Century commercial buildings, and along its residential streets, many of its early homes and churches.
Efforts to preserve and protect Woodville’s special charm and character have been under way since the early 1970’s, when the Woodville Civic Club was formed by a group of local citizens. The small group managed to purchase and restore two of the town’s most important buildings: the 1819 Federal building that once housed the Branch Bank of the Bank of the State of Mississippi, believed to be the oldest banking building still standing in the state, and the handsome 1834 structure that once housed the offices and banking house of the West Feliciana Railroad, the first standard gauge railroad built in the United States. Designed to haul the county’s cotton from Woodville to nearby Bayou Sara, Louisiana, on the Mississippi River, the railroad was initiated and financed by a group of local planters and businessmen.
In 1982, through the Civic Club’s efforts and with the active support and assistance of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History, 141 structures in Woodville were included in the historic district nominated for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places, a listing maintained by the National Park Service of the U. S. Department of the Interior. The historic district was approved and placed on the National Register later that year. In recent years, the district boundaries have been extended to include an additional 100 structures.
Among the club’s historic preservation activities have been historic house tours and pilgrimages, landscaping around the courthouse square, and the publication of several volumes of local history. The club’s most recent project was the publication of an award-winning book, “The Plantation World of Wilkinson County, Mississippi – 1792 to 2012.” The highly-anticipated four-year effort was published in 2013, quickly sold out in its first edition and is expected to be re-issued in a second edition later this year.
Only recently, two further steps in Woodville’s continuing historic preservation efforts have been made: a long-overdue zoning ordinance enacted by the town, and a companion ordinance, expanding and revitalizing the Woodville Historic Preservation Commission, first established in 1993. Both ordinances are administered by commissions comprised of local citizen volunteers.
Members of the commissions work together with town officials not only to ensure the protection of the town’s unique architecture and historic character but also to inform and educate local citizens in the importance of these endeavors and to encourage their active support and participation.
For a detailed explanation of the significance and effects of these recognitions and protections, please refer to the the Introduction section of the Woodville Zoning and Historic Preservation Guidelines..
The inventory of all National Register listings in Wilkinson County, including Woodville, may be reviewed here: Wilkinson County National Register Listings.
On that page may be found links to the original boundaries of the Woodville National Register Historic District, and the three adjustments of those boundaries. In particular please refer to Properties in the Woodville Historic District (1982), Properties added in the Woodville (Boundary Increase I) Historic District, (1993) Properties added in the Woodville (Boundary Increase II) Historic District (1999) and Properties added in Woodville (Boundary Increase III) Historic District (2001). The following may be viewed and downloaded: the original Woodville National Historic District Nomination; the Photographs associated with that nomination; the nomination of Boundary Increase 1; and the Photographs associated therewith; and Boundary Increase 2.
Woodville’s newly adopted Planning and Zoning Ordinance requires a Permit Application and a Permit for the demolition, renovation, new construction and changes in use of all properties in the Town. For properties located in the Woodville Historic District, the companion Historic Preservation Commission Ordinance requires a Permit Application and a Certificate of Appropriateness for certain types of exterior changes and repairs, as well as for demolition and new construction. For any changes to and installation of signage anywhere in town, a Permit Application and a Sign Permit Application Supplement are required.
The ordinances grew out of a Town Plan produced in 2012 by Orion Planning Group.
For a detailed explanation of the ordinances and the required application process, please refer to our Woodville Zoning and Historic Preservation Guidelines, with its included Quick Reference Section.
All properties in the Town of Woodville are now subject to zoning as per the Planning and Zoning Ordinance. The zoning classification of a property and whether or not it is located within the Historic District may be determined by reference to the Zoning Map of Woodville. The Table of Permitted Uses lists those allowed in each zoning classification. Both the Historic Preservation Commission Ordinance and the Preservation and Development Code (Zoning) are available in pdf format and also in Word, a searchable format, from the list below.
Each project requires only one application covering both its zoning aspects and, if applicable, its historic preservation aspects. Completed, signed and notarized applications should be filed with the office of Town Clerk at Town Hall, 510 Main Street, Woodville, MS 39669, at which time an application fee, assessed in accordance with the Permit Fee Schedule (revised 04-07-15), and payable to the Town of Woodville, will be due.
Applications will be referred to the Woodville Zoning Administrator for review and evaluation. If appropriate, the Zoning Administrator will issue a permit. The Administrator’s action on the application is subject to appeal to the Woodville commissions that administer the code and ordinance, and further to the Board of Aldermen.
All of the documents needed for implementation of the Code and the Ordinance may be obtained on this site; and alternatively, if necessary from the office of Town Clerk: (1) Zoning Map of Woodville; (2) Preservation and Development Code; (3) Historic Preservation Commission Ordinance; (4) Table of Permitted Uses; (5) Permit Application Form; and (6) Schedule of Application Fees.
The two Ordinances are administered by the Planning and Zoning Commission and the Historic Preservation Commission, which have been appointed by the Mayor, with approval of the Board of Aldermen. The members are: Patricia Dooley, Chairman Frances Bailey, Vice Chairman for Zoning; James A. Ventress, IV, Vice Chairman for Preservation; Leah Webster, Secretary; Hillery Foster Orgeron, Stella Pitts. Pursuant to its Rules of Procedure, the Commissions hold regular meetings which are open to the public on the last Tuesday of each month starting with July 26, 2016 at 5:30 at 131 Courthouse Street, The Woodville Municipal Building.
All FORMS are listed below – may be downloaded or printed
ZONING and HISTORIC DISTRICT MAP
PERMITTED USES and DIMENSIONAL REQUIREMENTS
PERMIT FEE SCHEDULE(Revised 04-07-15)
PERMIT APPLICATION FORM
SIGN PERMIT APPLICATION SUPPLEMENT
PRESERVATION COMMISSION ORDINANCE
PLANNING AND ZONING ORDINANCE
Available in Word by download and searchable:
PRESERVATION COMMISSION ORDINANCE