Preservation Commission orders removal of doors

Published 2:20 pm Monday, October 17, 2022

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NATCHEZ — A historic district homeowner must remove security doors after failing to get prior approval from the city’s preservation oversight board.

The Natchez Preservation Commission this week disapproved security doors that had already been installed on a home at 727 N. Pearl St. in the city’s historic district. The particular security doors that the homeowner installed on the front door and front entry to the fenced yard detract from the historic nature of the neighborhood, commissioners said.

Commissioner Liz Dantone said the commission would not have approved the doors if they had been presented, as is required in the district.

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“There are other alternatives for securing the home that do not change the historic nature of the district,” she said.

The homeowner apparently installed the doors without realizing the design and installation would have to first be approved by the preservation commission.

Carter Burns, executive director of the Historic Natchez Foundation, said the security doors chosen were not allowed in the district.

“According to the guidelines, it’s pretty clear these kinds of doors are not allowed and you don’t want to open the door to this all over the district,” Burns said.

Chairman of the commission, Andy Sartin, said, “The owner deserves to feel safe and secure in their home.  I assume there are better options for the house.”

“We just say no to these doors,” said Commissioner Shirley Petkovsek.

The commission voted to disapprove the security gates on the front door and entry to the yard of the home. However, they said they would consider alternatives if presented within the next 90 days.

Commissioner Mac Hazlip said the commission needs to find a way to make new homeowners in the historic district aware that any visible changes to the home must first be approved by the city’s preservation commission.

“We find ourselves in this position too many times,” he said. “We need to be in front of this, not behind it.”

Hazlip suggested sending a welcome letter to new owners of homes in the historic district, explaining the requirements. Commissioners asked City Planner Frankie Legaux to check with Adams County Chancery Clerk Brandy Lewis about getting access to a list of new homeowners in the district soon after land and property are transferred in order to send such a letter.

In other business at its meeting Wednesday night, the commission:

• Approved a request from Bret and Debbie Hines of 612 State St. to make changes to the appearance of their home to take it back to its original state.

• Approved a request to make exterior alterations to the home of Justin and Melissa Johnson, 910 Main St., as designed by Natchez Architect Amelia Salmon.

• Tabled an application from Griffith Jay Toney at 323 Clifton Ave. for a front porch addition. Commissioners said they need more information.

• Approved the request of Carl Beasley of 8 Ravenna Lane to add a carriage house on the property, designed by Waycaster and Associates.

• Approved the request of Dianne Bunch, 304 Washington St., to remove existing windows in the back of her home and replace them with windows that were salvaged from the old General Hospital.

• Tabled a request from Chip Sloan of 507 State St. to replace gallery and balcony railings and posts on the west and south sides of the home and to construct a wooden fence on the north and south sides of the property. Sloan purchased his home from the Historic Natchez Foundation and requirements of that transaction mean the Historic Natchez Foundation must approve changes before coming to the preservation commission.

• Approved the request of Elizabeth Blackwell to make changes to 109 N. Commerce St.