Aldermen uphold variance request

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 29, 2006

NATCHEZ &8212; The Natchez Mayor and Board of Aldermen upheld a zoning variance previously approved by the board of zoning and adjustments.

Former City Planner Andrew Smith represented Mamie Forbess in her appeal that the zoning board overstepped its powers when it approved a variance for a business on Hollands Lane. Smith argued, among other things, that the area was zoned for residential and the building that previously housed a bottling company and a sign company was not safe.

Bruce Kuehnle represented the defendant James McLeod, saying the original zoning was faulty and McLeod&8217;s paint business was well within the use of the land, as Forbess was running a curtain business out of an outbuilding on her property.

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The board did not allow rebuttals and ruled in McLeod&8217;s favor with Aldermen Joyce Arceneaux-Mathis and James &8220;Ricky&8221; Gray abstaining.

In other business:

4Virginia O&8217;Beirne of Pro-Life Natchez-Adams County requested permission to set up a temporary memorial display in late January to mark the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court ruling establishing most laws against abortion violate a constitutional right to privacy. The display would consist of 63 square feet filled with 4,000 small flags representing abortions.

The board voted to take the request under advisement with the city attorney and get back in touch with O&8217;Beirne.

4Natchez resident Gwen Ball relayed the offer of help from the Natchez National Historic Park to the city to be used as an outside resource in the decision on the use of land under Roth Hill.

4Natchez resident Casey Hughes addressed the board, saying she had been researching riverfront development across the country. She said the board, in considering recent proposals for riverfront development, did none of the proven practices, including the formation of citizens advisory groups, commissioning feasibility studies and environmental impact studies, including public use areas and developing a riverfront marketing plan.

Hughes said she would leave her research with the board but that she doubted it would be addressed.

&8220;I keep coming before this board with research and facts and statistics and you never listen,&8221; Hughes said.

4The board approved the engineering department follow recommendations to replace and repair signs with grant money.

4Gray said he would like the board to budget money to address abandoned and dilapidated houses.

He also proposed public works work with the county to clear out drains in the Homewood area once a month. Alderman Bob Pollard argued singling out one area when areas in every ward needed attention was unfair. The motion failed 2-3. Alderman David Massey said he would ask public works to clean out the drains in question as often as needed.

4The board passed a resolution approving an interlocal agreement that fire services be provided by the city to the Adams County Board of Supervisors.

4The board designated Patricia Dunmore as civil service attorney.

4The board agreed to name Jennifer Ogden as special projects lesion to the city. There would be no cost to the city, Mayor Phillip West said.