Developer to re-petition aldermen

Published 12:01 am Wednesday, March 4, 2009

NATCHEZ — Nursing center developer Gayle Evans is planning to re-petition the board of alderman over a zoning issue.

“I’m going to make an appeal back to the board of alderman,” he said.

At the board’s last meeting, the aldermen voted not to rezone a 3.6-acre parcel of land on John R. Junkin Drive, next to the Glenwood subdivision.

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To develop Evans’ proposed nursing home, the R-1 zoned piece of land would have to be rezoned as a special use district.

“(Special use district is) what it was intended to be zoned,” city planner Rusty Lewis said. “I think there was a mapping error before I came to town that had it incorrectly shown as an R-1 area like Glenwood subdivision.”

Lewis said the rezoning effort came out of the of the planning office as an initiative to correct the mistake that had been made.

Many people from the Glenwood subdivision appeared before the board at the last meeting to prevent approval of the rezoning.

Evans has owned that piece of property approximately 32 years, and he has already developed Glenburnie Nursing Home and Adams County Nursing Center.

“I’ve created about 200 jobs in Natchez,” he said.

The proposed nursing home would be an expansion of the other two he’s developed on John R. Junkin Drive.

“This one was going to be a nice one with bigger rooms,” Evans said.

He said he feels like residents of Glenwood subdivision want to use his acreage to separate the residential area from business development.

“Those people over in Glenwood, they want my land for a buffer zone,” Evans said. “It’s too valuable of land just for a buffer. I’ve got it cleared.

“It’s a prime piece of property.”

Alderman Bob Pollard, who represents the area, suggested the rezoning be turned down.

He said he was asked by his constituents to do so, and he said it was out of a concern for safety.

The Mississippi Department of Transportation is adding a turn lane in that area with its construction of a continuous flow intersection, which makes the intersection more dangerous, Pollard said.

Also, Lewis said if a car is traveling east on John R. Junkin Drive and wants to turn into the proposed facility, it would have to go past it and make a U-turn.

Pollard said service trucks coming in and out of the proposed development are another safety concern.

“It would really be a safety hazard, and that was my reasoning for keeping it R-1 was a safety factor,” he said.

Lewis said the planning commission is not planning to bring up the zoning issue again.

Evans was not present at the board of aldermen meeting when the rezoning was denied.