Oil-well drilling one step closer

Published 12:01 am Saturday, October 22, 2011

Natchez — A proposed oil-well drilling company has received No. 2 of three necessary approvals to begin drilling in Natchez.

The Natchez Planning Commission approved DRAYCO Exploration’s application for the proposed oil well that fronts Cemetery Road at its meeting on Thursday evening.

The company received approval from the Natchez Planning Commission earlier this month and must now go before the Natchez Board of Aldermen.

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The project initially raised concerns from the National Cemetery Administration and those living in the area who were worried noise and traffic would disrupt the area.

Natchez City Planner Bob Nix said the drilling company will coordinate its operations with the school bus schedules, national and city cemetery events and city events, such as tours of homes that might be affected by well’s operation.

Nix said DRAYCO would also be liable for damages to the Marblestone Road.

Marblestone Road resident Beatrice King voiced concerns she had at the meeting.

“I’ve heard a lot of talk about the cemeteries, but what about the residents of Marblestone?” she said.

King said she was concerned about damage to the road that was recently repaved.

DRACYO representative Roy Geoghegan said the operation would be 800 feet off the side of Marblestone Road.

“You shouldn’t hear any noise unless you’re out on your porch really listening for it,” he said.

The oil well application is scheduled to go before the Natchez Board of Aldermen Tuesday. The aldermen will also have a specially called meeting regarding the well on Nov. 1.

In other news from the meeting:

4 The commission approved a special exception use permit from Braswell Construction Company, Inc. to allow a five-unit bed and breakfast at 306 Jefferson St. The commission also approved a variance to allow the bed and breakfast to operate with less than the minimum required parking.

4 The commission approved the application by David L. Martin for Geronimo Hardwood Timber, LLC to permit the establishment of a bar in the building located at 319 Broadway St.

4 The commission voted 3-2 to stay the application regarding a proposed bed and breakfast at 601 S. Union St. until its next meeting.

The bed and breakfast is currently experiencing a change of ownership.

Several South Union Street residents objected to the approval of the bed and breakfast application.

South Union resident Walter Brown said he was disappointed the new owner was not at the meeting to field questions from the public and the commission.