Preservation approves Habitat house

Published 12:03 am Thursday, August 9, 2012

NATCHEZ — The Natchez Preservation Commission approved at its Wednesday meeting an application from Habitat for Humanity to construct a new house on Martin Luther King Jr. Street.

Local Habitat for Humanity secretary Duncan McFarlane appeared before the commission seeking approval for the house, which will be the 17th constructed in the city.

It is the first house that has been approved by the commission, although McFarlane said there are eight Habitat houses in the historic preservation district.

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McFarlane said Habitat built those houses without knowing they were supposed to get approval from the preservation commission.

“So here we are letting you know that we have selected a family, and we are going to be building a house,” he said.

The house plan the commission approved, which McFarlane said comes from Habitat’s plan book, does not meet historic guidelines for the area. In an effort not to hold the project up, and because Habitat houses are a first for the preservation commission, Chairperson Marty Seibert asked Historic Natchez Foundation Executive Director Mimi Miller for guidance.

Miller suggested the commission approve it and said in the future she wants to work with Habitat to develop house plans for Habitat houses in historic districts.

McFarlane said Habitat hopes to start construction on the $55,000 house in September. The house, McFarlane said, will take approximately eight months to complete.

The three-bedroom, two-bathroom house, which is 1,100 square feet, is for a married couple with four children, McFarlane said.

Anyone wishing to donate or volunteer for Habitat should call McFarlane at 601-445-8639.

In other news from the meeting:

•The commission approved the demolition of a house on the city’s unsafe structure list at 602 S. Wall St. at the request of the owner.

The demolition was approved on the condition that the commission followed all the steps the city has for demolishing houses. Seibert said since the commission does not have a planner to guide it on the demolition procedure, she wanted to add the condition.

Latonya Lloyd, who was representing the homeowner at the meeting, asked Seibert for a time of when the demolition has to occur.

Seibert said she did not know what the period of time would be, but she said she would consult the city’s building inspector, Fred Galler.

Lloyd said she has tried to e-mail and call Galler for months with questions about the demolition and has not heard back from him.

Seibert and Lloyd exchanged phone numbers, and Seibert said she would check on the matter today or Friday.

•The commission approved Dan Shiells’ application to remove the bottom flight of stairs on the house at 606 N. Union St. and replace them with new stairs that will be parallel to the rear of the house. The work will also repair remaining steps, install new shutters and install lattice to cover air conditioning units under the bathroom addition.