Residents want apartment complex to go ‘somewhere else’

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 20, 2001

&uot;Take your upscale apartments and take them somewhere else!&uot; was the cry repeated from an audience of almost 100 in attendance of the Natchez Metro Planning Commission meeting Thursday.

The residents, many of them from neighborhoods surrounding the rent-subsidized Holiday Apartments, were opposing a proposed 40-unit townhouse complex on Old Washington Road.

In an unanimous vote, the planning commission agreed with the crowd and will recommend to the Natchez Board of Aldermen that the application by Chartre Construction to rezone the land for construction of the complex be denied. The aldermen will review the application at their April 24 meeting.

Christopher Knott of Trustmark Construction represented the developers at the meeting.

He said the complex would consist of 40 3-bedroom, 3-bath &uot;upscale&uot; townhouses that a tenant could opt to purchase after 15 years.

&uot;We don’t want to cut your sermon short,&uot; said the Rev. James Stokes, &uot;but we don’t want them. Take them somewhere else!&uot;

Several residents speaking against the complex compared them to the nearby Holiday Apartments, which they say added noise, traffic and litter to their neighborhoods.

Knott emphasized that the townhouses were not rent-subsidized and were designed for people with yearly incomes between $16,000 and $35,000.

&uot;I wish you would not judge what we’re doing with what’s already there,&uot; Knott said, referring to the comparisons with Holiday Apartments.

Natchez Police Chief Willie Huff said many of the residents are concerned traffic from the complex would cut through their neighborhoods.

&uot;I think what these people are concerned with and what I’m concerned with as far as law enforcement is that we’re putting more people in a small area,&uot; he said.

Adams County Supervisor Darryl Grennell and Ward 2 Alderman James &uot;Ricky&uot; Gray said they opposed building the complex in an area already crowded with housing.

Gray said the commission should consider whether the city needs any more housing at a time when jobs are uncertain. &uot;I think somebody needs to do a study first to determine whether we need more apartments,&uot; he said.

Knott said Natchez is the only city to oppose the complex, which have also been built in McComb, Hattiesburg, Oxford and Tunica.

After the meeting, he looked at several other sites which he said he will pursue. The Old Washington Road site was the third application submitted by the developers for the project. West Stiers Lane was also turned down by the planning commission and the board of aldermen.

&uot;We’re not ready to stop at this point,&uot; Knott said.