Brown defends resort

Published 12:00 am Saturday, October 25, 2008

NATCHEZ — Larry L. “Butch” Brown doesn’t know what all the fuss is about.

The owner of the near 13 acres of land on Canal Street is looking to convert that land to an RV resort and said he was shocked to hear of the staunch opposition the project met during Thursday night’s planning meeting.

“I don’t really know what the concern is,” he said. “We have no intentions of doing anything but a very upscale, very small, limited use recreational resort in conjunction with a three or four-story hotel and a standalone restaurant.”

Email newsletter signup

A public hearing for the approval of an amendment revision to allow the B-2 zoned property to house an RV resort brought many property owners out to voice their concerns.

Concerns included devaluation of neighboring residences and fear that the property would begin as high-end but denigrate to a trailer park.

“People were calling it a trailer park and one of the neighbors down there had some very derogatory things to say about a trailer park,” Brown said. “To call it a trailer park is really a disservice to all upscale RV parks in America.”

Brown said first of all, the resort will be detached from any surrounding properties by right-of-ways.

The railroad that runs along the rear of the property has a right-of-way of 150 feet and Brown said his property will also have a 30-foot “green” buffer zone.

“That’s two-thirds length of a football field,” he said.

He said that leads to plenty of separation between residential areas and the resort itself.

And as far as the view from Canal Street, passers-by will see the hotel and the restaurant in the front and will not be able to see the RVs.

Not only will the two roadside buildings block any view, but the property slopes down to further conceal the recreational vehicles.

“It’s laid out very, very professionally,” Brown said.

He also promised the clientele of the resort will be a desirable crowd — travelers who have expendable cash, have bought six-figure RVs and can pony up the $60 per night charge for the RV pad.

“These are upscale travelers who have made a significant investment in their vehicle, who want upscale amenities, fine restaurants, fine accommodations and something that’s special and unique,” Brown said. “These people are very mobile, very wealthy.

“These are the type of people who spend very good money in communities like Natchez.”

He said he feels as though people just don’t understand what the project entails.

“I think participants in the meeting have been misled by someone or some information,” he said. “I don’t understand the concern of the group itself because it’s not visible, it doesn’t do or produce anything that would harm any neighborhood, it’s separated, it’s invisible, it’s not permanent residences.”

The amendment was approved 4-1 by the planning commission and will now go before the Natchez Board of Aldermen. The item is not listed on the agenda for Tuesday’s meeting and will more than likely not be brought up until November.

Aldermen have admitted they aren’t well read on the amendment yet, as they haven’t even gotten the request.

Alderwoman Joyce Arceneaux-Mathis said, however, it’s strong that the planning commission gave the amendment the go-ahead.

“We’re probably going to go with the recommendation,” she said.

She said she is in favor of the project.

Alderman Bob Pollard said the vote is just for the amendment alone and the project itself will have to go back before the planning commission.

The property is in his ward and he said when the actual project comes to a vote, he’ll represent his constituents.

“I’m going to do what the neighborhood residents want me to do,” Pollard said. “If they don’t want it, I’m not going to vote for it.”