Facility developer meets with planners

Published 12:04 am Friday, August 19, 2011

NATCHEZ — A representative for a hopeful development company left the City Council Chambers with a plan but no promises after the planning commission’s meeting Thursday night.

Spencer Holder represented the developers of a proposed personal care facility on a 23-acre parcel of land at 521 John R. Junkin Drive.

However, Thursday’s edition of The Democrat inaccurately reported that the planned development would be a nursing home in close proximity to Glenwood subdivision.

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The land in question — 521 John R. Junkin Drive — is currently designated as villa residential, City Planner Bob Nix said, and it was established that way when an antebellum house, called Inglewood, stood there before it burned in the 1940s.

Under the villa residential designation, the grounds would be indivisible.

The developers Holder represented had requested that the land be changed from villa residential to the classification multi-family residential, or R-4, Nix said, because their proposed 24-bed personal care facility could be approved for construction under that zoning classification.

However, Nix said, moving to an R-4 zone — the designation that allows for the densest population — would relinquish more control than he said he felt comfortable with, due to the land’s location near Duncan Park and Elms Court.

An R-4 zone near those two places wouldn’t be appropriate, he said.

“We didn’t really think anything worked, to be quite frank,” Nix said.

The conclusion at which he arrived, though, he said, was to designate the land as R-2, or as a town home/patio home property designation, which is “intermediate density.”

“We determined that there is an intermediate density that works with the property due to the scale of development it allows,” Nix said.

Under the R-2 classification, though, he said, a personal care facility wouldn’t be approved.

Therefore, the developers would have to apply for a planned unit development, which Nix said must be a minimum of five acres.

With a PUD, developers would detail exactly what they plan on doing with the facility, and city leaders could approve or not approve specific parts as they saw fit, Nix said.

He described it as “tailoring” it to fix the development.

“You’re going to have to apply for a site plan no matter what,” Nix told Holder at the meeting.

Holder said the developers are planning on a single-level, upscale facility, with 10- to 12-foot ceilings, complete with crown molding.

The planning commission approved Nix’s recommendations, and the recommendations will be presented to the Natchez Board of Aldermen Tuesday.