Developer still wants property

Published 12:00 am Thursday, April 26, 2001

Developers hoping to build a 40-unit &uot;rent-to-own&uot; townhouse complex in Natchez say they’re not giving up just yet.

Jackson-based Chartre Consulting applied Wednesday to rezone three separate properties along St. Catherine Street from general business to multi-family residential.

The sites are described as the Illinois Central Railroad Company property, the Nosser City property and a parcel of land at St. Catherine and Fourth streets.

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&uot;We’re not giving up yet,&uot; said Christopher Knott of Trustmark Construction, who is representing the developers in the application process.

The new applications come one day after the Natchez Board of Aldermen upheld the Metro Planning Commission’s recommendation to deny a rezoning request by the same company for property on Old Washington Road. Earlier this month, they turned down a West Stiers Lane location.

Aldermen and nearby residents cited many of the same concerns for both locations, including traffic congestion and increased noise and litter.

But several aldermen, including Theodore &uot;Bubber&uot; West, Ward 4, offered help the developers locate an appropriate site. In fact, West said Wednesday he suggested the Illinois Central Railroad site to Knott.

&uot;I just don’t know of any other sites,&uot; West said. &uot;My main concern is we need quality, affordable housing in Adams County.&uot;

Knott viewed the site, along with several others, with realtor Jackie Smith, an agent with Coldwell Banker Brown and Company Inc. and wife of Natchez Mayor F.L. &uot;Hank&uot; Smith.

West said the $3 million complex would certainly employ local carpenters, plumbers and contractors and should be considered economic development.

Knott said the developers are restricted by a timeline imposed by the Mississippi HOME Corporation, which will help fund the project through tax credits.

To help the developers meet the application deadline, the planning commission will hold a special meeting at 5 p.m., Thursday, May 10 – exactly 15 days after the property descriptions are advertised in The Democrat, a legal requirement for a public hearing.

Plans for the complex include 40 three-bedroom, three-bath units. Tenants renting the units for 15 years would have the option to purchase.

Though the units would not be rent subsidized or Section 8 housing, tenants must fall within a certain income-earing bracket – probably between $17,000 and $34,000 a year – to be eligible.