Commission approves rezoning recommendationPublished 12:10am Friday, July 20, 2012
NATCHEZ — The Natchez Planning Commission approved Thursday a recommendation to rezone three lots in the Concord subdivision in an effort to help the property owners sell the land.
Before the approval, the commissioners discussed at length the appropriateness of the rezoning. Some commissioners cited concerns of spot zoning, which would not make the lots contiguous to their appropriate zones.
The lots, near the former Armstrong Tire and Rubber Company plant were zoned I-1 industrial. The owners, who said they were guided by former City Planner Bob Nix, requested the properties be zoned to R-3 mixed density residential because they were trying to sell the properties.
Commissioner Deborah Martin pointed out a letter from a neighboring property owner to the three lots who did not want the entire block rezoned, which the commissioners originally thought they were going to have to do, because he stores heavy equipment in the industrial zone.
Martin also pointed out that Nix included in his staff report, which he began prior to his retirement at the end of June and recently finished, that the industrial district was left in the zoning code in that residential area as an error when a new development code was adopted in 2008.
Commissioners Charles Harris, who lives near the proposed rezoning, and Emma Rose Jackson said they wanted more information on the rezoning because they were not sure that rezoning the properties would not be spot zoning.
Martin contended, upon further inspection of the zoning map, that rezoning the three lots would not be spot zoning because the lots abutted an R-3 zone and would just be added and contiguous with the R-3 zone.
The lot of the owner who did not want his land to be rezoned would remain industrial.
The commission voted 5-2 to approve the rezoning. Harris and Commissioner Emma Rose Jackson voted against the motion.
In other news from the meeting:
4Harris asked if the developer for the housing development near the Forks of the Road had submitted a final site plan to the commission outlining final designs.
The commissioners seemed to agree that they had not seen a final designs, which concerned Harris because the company has already broken ground on the Old Bridge Place, formerly Stonehurst Arms, development.
“How can you break ground without final approval,” Harris said.
The commission previously approved a site plan in January, with Stubbs and Harris voting against the development.
Harris said, though, he still feels the commission has not seen final design plans.
“It’s almost like the (Magnolia Bluffs) Casino,” Commissioner Cheryl Rinehart said. “We’ve not seen a final site plan on that.”
The commissioners wondered whether some of the final plans were administratively approved.
Planning and Zoning Department Administrative assistant Tanya Woods said she would provide any copies of further plans to the commissioners as the plans are submitted to the department.
David Kelly of Chartre Consulting received approval from the commissioners last month for an amended site plan that is supposed to have less impact on the site. Kelly also informed the commission the company could be abandoning the second phase of the project altogether.
Natchez National Historical Park Superintendent Kathleen Jenkins told the commission at last month’s meeting that National Park Service archaeologists from Tallahassee, Fla., would be monitoring the site and recovering any significant artifacts that are unearthed from the location of the former Elam stand at the Forks of the Road.
The commission, except Harris, agreed at June’s meeting that it would be best for the changes to be administratively approved since the developers are on a timeline.
Kelly also said because of the tight timeline, if the changes — which he said lessen the impact on the historical site — were not approved, the company would move forward with its then current plan.