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Aldermen approve rezoning of fire victims’ property

NATCHEZ — A local family took one step closer to moving into a new home Tuesday, nearly two months after their house was destroyed in a fire.

The Natchez Board of Aldermen approved a rezoning request from Billy and Lene Zimmerman Tuesday to place a manufactured home on the Vine Street lot where their house burned Feb. 3.

Before the vote, City Planner Frankie Legaux told the board the Natchez Planning Commission voted 6-2 March 20 to recommend the board of aldermen amend city code to allow manufactured homes in R-2 districts as a special exception rather than rezoning the Zimmermans’ property, Legaux said.

Both options would allow the home on their property, but amending the code to allow manufactured homes as special exceptions in all R-2 districts would be troublesome, Legaux said.

“This would open up every lot that is zoned R-2 to allow manufactured homes,” she said.

City Attorney Hyde Carby noted several areas in the city are zoned R-2.

Legaux also said if the code was amended to allow manufactured homes in R-2 as special exceptions, it would be more difficult to defend an appeal of a potential denial of a manufactured home by the city.

The application was also advertised as a rezoning and not a code amendment, Legaux said. If the code were to be amended, another advertisement would have to run, delaying the process.

The board voted unanimously for the rezoning request rather than the code amendment.

Lene, who was in the audience, expressed her gratitude to Legaux for helping with the application.

Lene said the home is being built now, and the family should be able to move into it in approximately one month.

Lene, Billy and their granddaughter, Heidi, an 11-year-old Adams County Christian School student, have been living down the street with Lene’s parents in one room since the blaze.

Space has been cramped there, Lene said.

“It’s been a long journey, and we’re just ready to get back home,” she said.

In other news from the meeting:

-The board approved a request to rezone property on U.S. 61 near Trinity Episcopal Day School from A-1 Agricultural to B-4 Highway Business.

Trace City Toyota plans to build a dealership on the property, and the planning commission approved site plans for the dealership last week. The commission’s approval was contingent on the rezoning approval by the board of aldermen.

-The board voted to adjudicate 34 nuisance properties with overgrown grass, dilapidated structures or other code violations.

The board granted requests from two property owners of 421 W. Stiers Lane and 1159 Martin Luther King Jr. St. who asked for three weeks and six weeks, respectively, to clean their properties.

The board removed 1159 Martin Luther King Jr. St. from the list of properties to be adjudicated after the owner disputed there was a dilapidated structure or overgrown property.

The owner, upset she has received multiple letters over years about the property, said there is no dwelling on the property, and Ward 2 Alderman Ricky Gray attested the grass had been cut this week.

-Ward 1 Alderwoman Joyce Arceneaux-Mathis asked Police Chief Danny White to investigate why Domino’s Pizza reportedly recently refused to deliver past the 900 block of North Union Street after 6 p.m. Arceneaux-Mathis said she wanted further information on safety concerns for delivery drivers in that area and what would prompt the pizza company to refuse delivery.

The board’s next meeting will be April 8 in the Natchez City Council Chambers, with the finance meeting at 9:30 a.m. and the regular meeting at 11 a.m.