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Plans for King’s Tavern, Humane Society shelter approved

NATCHEZ — The Natchez Planning Commission approved an application for a planned unit development on the former King’s Tavern property despite several commissioners’ concerns with the uncertainty of one of the three businesses inside the property.

The application from owners Doug and Regina Charboneau is for a restaurant, a specialty gift shop that would be permitted as a package store and a third business, which they said first needs the commission’s approval before more details could be discussed.

“We’re not going into great detail because of the guidelines for applying for licensing,” Regina Charboneau said. “We have to get this approved and once we get this done, than we can talk about it.

“There are a lot of hurdles to move forward and this is just one of many.”

Commissioner Key Smith also addressed concerns regarding if the Charboneaus could, at any point, decide to divide up the properties and sell one of them individually.

“I don’t want you to sell the liquor store two years down the road,” Smith said.

City Planner Frankie Legaux said the specifications of the planned unit development (PUD) would not allow that to happen.

“They would have to take it out of the PUD and not make it part of that PUD,” Legaux said. “By having the planned unit, it offers you more protection.”

Resident Teri Tillman said she was in favor of the work the Charboneaus were doing to restore the property, but did have concerns regarding what exactly the third business would be and how it would affect the neighborhood.

“We’re financially and emotionally invested in the neighborhood, so we want only the best,” Tillman said. “I have heard what you’ve shared with others with the third business…and it would not be allowed in the neighborhood.”

Tillman said some of the rumors around town described a business that would have live music and be open late.

“I’m not saying we’ll never have music, but it won’t be a normal thing,” Regina Charboneau said. “I want to be good neighbors, and it’s something I really believe you’ll be comfortable with.”

Some commissioners entertained the idea of apporving the plan with a requirement the Charboneaus return for approval of the third business once they had more details.

Legaux said if the business the Charboneaus have planned is one listed in the city development code than the commission couldn’t require that approval.

“If it’s anything outside of anything allowed by right or in the special exceptions they would have to come back here anyway,” Legaux said. “If it’s allowed by right, they would be able to operate.”

The commission approved the application after the Charboneaus told the members the third business does not fall under those in the development code, which meant they have to return to the board for separate approval.

In other news from the meeting:

- The commission approved plans for a new Natchez-Adams County Humane Society animal shelter.

The commissioners had previously postponed approval when they had questions regarding drainage and the parking lot.

The plans included the parking lot to be 6-inch thick limestone because that material is being donated for the shelter, NACHS vice-chair Sue Stedman said.

The commissioners read a question from Natchez Fire Department Oliver Stewart who wanted to ensure the limestone could handle the weight of the department’s fire trucks, which weigh approximately 48,000 pounds.

Legaux said the matter had been resolved and that the limestone could handle the department’s trucks.

Stedman said the human society’s plans included installing a concrete, hard surface parking lot down the road.

“At this time, it puts us $50,000 to $60,000 ahead to be able to concentrate those resources on the building instead” Stedman said. “But we do intend in the future co come back and install the concrete parking lot.”

The commission approved the plans under the condition they visit the humane society in 18 months regarding the parking lot.

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