Residents petitioning against rezoning

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 8, 2000

A group of residents in the Lower Woodville Road area is still petitioning against a proposed rezoning on the street.

The residents have sent a letter and petition to the Natchez mayor and board of aldermen asking that they vote against rezoning two parcels of land from open land to neighborhood business district.

The letter states that hundreds of residents are opposed to the rezoning because &uot;it will be detrimental to the residents as well as the thousands of people that use Lower Woodville Road daily.&uot;

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Last month, the Natchez Metro Planning Commission recommended approval of the rezoning. The decision now lies with the Natchez Board of Aldermen, which is scheduled to vote on the issue at its Tuesday meeting at 11 a.m. Ward 3 Alderwoman Sue Stedman, who lives just off Lower Woodville Road, said she is still considering her vote.

&uot;I’m kind of in a dual position because I’m an alderwoman, but I also live in the area,&uot; she said. &uot;I can see both sides of the issue.&uot;

Lower Woodville Road is the dividing line between wards 1 and 3. Ward 1 Alderwoman Joyce Arceneaux said she has only heard opposition to the rezoning.

&uot;Nobody has petitioned me saying, ‘We want it,’&uot; she said.

Arceneaux said she is now leaning toward voting as her constituents want, against the rezoning.

Ward 6 Alderman Jake Middleton said he is still reviewing the issue.

&uot;Lower Woodville Road has its problems,&uot; he said. &uot;There are drainage problems, the road’s very narrow, and we’re trying to work on that now.&uot;

Still, Middleton said, the office building could be an improvement on Lower Woodville.

Ward 2 Alderman George Harden said he hasn’t seen the letter from residents yet, so he is not prepared to make a decision on the issue.

Other members of the board of aldermen could not be reached for comment.

The two parcels of land that would be rezoned are owned by Trace Publishing and Pollard, Pollard and Rayborn. An office building rented for the Natural Resource Conservation Service is already located on the Trace Publishing property. The Pollard property is an empty lot, but Allgood Business Machines has said it will buy the property to erect an office building.

At the planning commission meeting Dec. 16, Jim Allgood said his company does not plan to build anything that is &uot;displeasing by any means&uot;&160;to the neighborhood. According to the zoning ordinance, only single-family housing, farmland and temporary sites such as carnivals and revivals are allowed in open-land districts.

Neighborhood business districts permit such businesses as offices, museums and galleries, barber shops and libraries, but a recent amendment to the zoning ordinance removed many of the uses originally permitted. Now uses such as automobile filling stations, clubs or lodges, drug store, fix-it shops, grocery stores, restaurants and retail sporting goods stores are only permitted by special exception of the Natchez Zoning Board of Adjustment.