Trailer request denied by planner

Published 12:00 am Thursday, April 9, 2009

NATCHEZ — One city official has put the brakes on a county plan to relocate the Adams County Road Crew Department’s office.

Natchez City Planner John “Rusty” Lewis denied a request from Adams County Supervisor S.E. “Spanky” Felter that would allow the installation of a trailer near the Liberty Road Bridge for the county road crew’s new office.

Lewis said he had very basic reasons for denying Felter’s request.

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Felter never submitted any plans for what the area would look like once it’s developed and the area is not zoned to permit a mobile building, Lewis said.

“It’s pretty simple,” Lewis said. “Zoning won’t permit that. You can’t just put a trailer there.”

The two secretaries and department manager that run the road crew currently occupy a rented office on Liberty Road.

Felter said when Natchez Regional Medical Center administrator’s offered to give the county an unused trailer, it seemed logical to make the space into an office for the road crew.

“It’s nice office space and it’s a chance for the county to save some money,” he said.

Felter said the plan, up until Wednesday, called for the trailer to be moved to a parcel of county land near the Liberty Road Bridge.

And the county has already leveled land to accept the trailer.

The newly leveled plot is directly across the street from Lambuth’s Quick Lube and next to Rite Aid on Sergeant S. Prentiss Boulevard.

Lewis said he first became aware of the plan approximately six weeks ago when he got a call from someone with the county asking if a trailer could be used for temporary use.

Then last month Lewis got a call from Felter asking if the trailer could be relocated to the currently proposed location.

“I asked for plans then,” Lewis said. “But I have not seen them yet.”

Lewis said since the initial conversation he has spoken to Felter more than once about the plans and has still not seen them.

Felter said County Engineer Jim Marlow is still preparing site plans and should have them soon.

Felter said the county is willing to do whatever is necessary to make the trailer fit the surrounding business, including new landscaping and brickwork.

“We’re not going to put up an eyesore,” Felter said. “We can make it nice. We’ll do whatever we need to do.”

Lewis said while it would likely be extremely expensive to retrofit the exterior of the trailer to look like a permanent structure, the proposed area is not zoned for mobile units.

The proposed site is zoned as special use development, SUD, and won’t permit mobile homes or mobile buildings.

The SUD zoning status is for facilities like airports, colleges, nursing homes, hospitals, libraries and stadiums, not office space.

Lewis said there’s not even zoning in place to address mobile to office conversion.

Lewis said Felter can appeal the decision and make his request to the Natchez Planning Commission.

But Felter said he’s hoping to have the new office in place and operational by May 1.

The county has already canceled their lease agreement on the Liberty Road office, effective May 1.

Lewis said even if Felter does make an appeal on the county’s behalf, he won’t get far without any plans, even if the land were zoned for mobile buildings.

“You can’t just pitch up a building somewhere and call it good enough,” Lewis said.