Commission approves rezoning

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 16, 1999

Faced with a dilemma Thursday night, the Natchez Metro Planning Commission voted to recommend approval of a rezoning request for two parcels on Lower Woodville Road, despite residents’ opposition.

Two property owners, Trace Publishing and Pollard, Pollard and Rayborn, each had asked that their land parcels be rezoned from open land to neighborhood business.

An office building rented for the Natural Resource Conservation Service is already located on the Trace Publishing property.

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The Pollard property is an empty lot, but Allgood Business Machines has said it will buy the property to erect an office building.

&uot;We’re in a dilemma,&uot; said planning commission member Karen Stubbs. &uot;We have a piece of property that is currently between the Elks Club and a small business. What right do we have to tell the property owner that he can’t sell his property for a development that is in accordance with his neighbors?&uot;

The commission voted 4-1 to recommend approval of the rezoning. Planning Commission Chairman Debra Martin voted against the rezoning. The request now goes to the board of aldermen, which is scheduled to vote on the issue at its Jan. 11 meeting at 11 a.m.

Many of the residents in the Lower Woodville Road area attended Thursday night’s meeting. All were in opposition to the rezoning; many cited problems such as increased traffic and drainage problems if an office building were built there.

&uot;Lower Woodville Road is a lovely road,&uot; said Dunkerron Drive resident Kathy Tilley. &uot;It’s not a commercial road. I don’t understand why you would want to build an office building there.&uot;

Jim Allgood said Allgood Business Machines helps recruit jobs to Natchez by building offices, usually governmental. The company builds to the specifications of the office which will be using the property, so he did not know specifically which type of office would be in the location. &uot;We’re not here to promote a honky-tonk,&uot; he said. &uot;We’re not going to put anything in your neighborhood that is displeasing by any means.&uot;

Stubbs said she agreed with the residents but could not see a legal reason to turn down the zoning request.

If the board of aldermen does rezone the area to neighborhood business, there are new restrictions on the uses of the property.

According to an amendment passed by aldermen this week, the list of uses in neighborhood business districts has been limited. Most of the uses that had been permitted by right — such as grocery stores, drug stores and filling stations — will now be permitted only by special exception of the zoning board.