Fat Mama’s construction halted after permit problem

Published 12:19 am Wednesday, December 12, 2007

NATCHEZ — Construction at Fat Mama’s new site has been temporarily halted due to a hastily issued work permit.

Mayor Phillip West said the permit was given because the city’s planning office incorrectly approved the plans for the restaurant.

However, West said the planning office unknowingly approved the plans before they had received final approval from the site planning committee.

Email newsletter signup

The city’s site planning committee is comprised of city officials like the fire chief and building inspector who make sure a building’s plans are safe and secure.

City Building Inspector Paul Dawes said the error was rectified the next day and a stop work order was issued.

West said planning office’s error was simple and will be corrected quickly.

The planning office approved Fat Mama’s plans while their case was still being decided in the courts.

West said the office’s approved plans that allowed the structure to be within five-feet of the sidewalk.

While Fat Mama’s will be built within five-feet of the sidewalk, the plans were approved before a variance was issued allowing that change to be made.

As of now, Fat Mama’s still does not have the variance.

Planning Commission Vice-Chair Ed Godfrey said a city ordinance requires buildings to be built 25 feet off the street.

The Planning Commission is a volunteer based group that monitors building projects in Natchez.

However most structures on North Canal Street are built only five feet off the street with the issue of a variance Godfrey said.

On Dec. 5., city officials, representatives from Fat Mama’s and the planning commission met to discuss finalization of plans on the restaurant.

Fat Mama’s owner David Gammill said the meeting went very well.

“We just want to get back to work,” he said.

And to get back to work, Gammill still needs final plan approval and a variance.

But at the Dec. 5, meeting members of the planning commission had an opportunity to look over Fat Mama’s plans and ask questions.

“The plans look good,” Godfrey said.

Gammill said when he meets with the committee again on Dec. 20, he fully expects his plans to be approved and expects to get his variance granted allowing him to build closer to the street.

“I hope to get back to work the next day,” he said.

Gammill said once construction resumes, Fat Mama’s should be completed by mid-June.