Development’s license only temporary; more work needed

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 18, 2009

NATCHEZ — Natchez Manor has only been given its temporary certificate of occupancy — and in the 11th hour.

City Building Inspector Paul Dawes said developers Barbara and Edward Blackmon came and received the business’s certificate shortly before their 11 a.m. Friday ribbon cutting.

Had the Blackmons not picked up the certificate of occupancy before the event, the function or any other wouldn’t have been allowed.

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The certificate of occupancy is temporary because Dawes said there are still several city guidelines the building needs to meet.

“There are some issues that are not life threatening,” he said.

The grease trap is too small, toilet fixtures have not been grouted in and emergency exit lights in stairwells are also a concern, Dawes said.

The owners have 30 days to fix all issues in non-compliance.

“They’ve got a long way to go before they get everything satisfied,” he said.

Dawes said another inspection will follow, and if everything meets guidelines, a permanent certificate will be awarded.

City Planner John “Rusty” Lewis said Natchez Manor still has at least one hang-up.

“There are still issues flapping in the breeze as far as the planning department is concerned,” he said.

Earlier this week, Barbara Blackmon petitioned the board of aldermen to reverse the Natchez Planning Commission’s prior decision to label the development as a hotel.

Barbara Blackmon wanted Natchez Manor to be designated as a bed and breakfast, and the aldermen voted to allow that.

However, according to the city bed and breakfast ordinance, developments are only allowed one sign.

Lewis said Natchez Manor has two signs, one on the Franklin Street side and another on the Union Street side, as the building sits on a corner.

“The applicant installed the awnings with the signs without permission or review by the preservation commission,” he said.

Even though it goes against the ordinance, Lewis said he feels certain the signs will get approval by the commission.

“But everybody need to go through the same application process,” he said.

Natchez Manor’s bed and breakfast designation came Tuesday after a unanimous vote by the board of aldermen.

Alderman Dan Dillard works for Waycaster and Associates architecture firm, the firm that drew plans for the Natchez Manor, and he did not rec use himself from the vote.

Mayor Jake Middleton said according the Robert’s Rules of Order, any direct conflict of interest for an elected official should be abstained from.

“It’s not mandatory,” he said, however. “But most people do to keep the air clear.”

Dillard said he wasn’t even sure if the matter came to a vote, but he said he tried to stay out of the discussion to keep his distance.