City makes move to save historic house Arlington
Published 11:50 pm Thursday, October 18, 2018
NATCHEZ — The Natchez Preservation Commission is moving forward with a legal battle to save the historic and privately owned Arlington property, a derelict, burned out antebellum house located on John A. Quitman Boulevard.
Arlington, a federal style suburban villa built in approximately 1818, has continued to decay since a fire gutted the structure more than a decade ago, said Riccardo Giani, Natchez planning and zoning director.
“Not only is it on the National Register, but it’s also a National Landmark and a Mississippi Landmark, and it’s one of 13 properties in Mississippi that holds that designation,” he said.
Giani said city officials made a preliminary decision in July that the property owned by Jackson resident, Tom Vaughan, met the criteria for “demolition by neglect” — a step-by-step ordinance that would allow officials to fine or impose a tax lien on Vaughan to restore the property due to its historic nature and deteriorating condition.
In progression with the demolition by neglect process, officials sent two certified letters to Vaughan over a period of 60 days, Giani said. As of a meeting of the Natchez Preservation Commission on Tuesday, Vaughan has yet to respond or rebut the claim that the property is being neglected, he said.
“We’re entering a 90-day period during which the owner has a chance to make repairs,” Giani said. “By Jan. 9, the city can proceed with fines. … If the mayor and the board of aldermen decided to hire a team of contractors to make repairs on the building … they could put a lien on his taxes to pay for it.”