A controversial item for residents on the south end of Williams Avenue was tabled until the Aug. 22 City Council meeting at Monday night’s meeting, July 22. The item is an application by Ted Methvin to rezone 219 Williams Avenue from R-1 Residential to R-1 Residential, Special Exemption to operate a dental office. The question that best sums up the discussion: Do dentists make good neighbors? Residents seemed more concerned that allowing businesses to intrude within neighborhoods would erode the integrity of the historical homes and the overall community atmosphere. Methvin said this is not his intention. He asked for one month’s time to speak to the neighbors around the property in question. The residents at the Council meeting said they’ve already made up their minds.
Another property issue the Council addressed involved the Summertree Apartments on Second Street. The renovation project was intended to create housing for the homeless and homeless veterans. In May, 2018 Mayor Lee Posey said it looked like the project had fallen into bankruptcy. Representatives from the bank that now owns the property came before the City Council after they received a letter of intent to demolish the structures to comply with the City’s building code. They have engaged a new contractor and should get documents reissued in 1-2 months to complete the project, which has been estimated to last 6 months. The complex has 40 one-bedroom units with an income restriction of 60% of the area median. The complex is required to remain subsidized housing in order to utilize the tax credits initially approved for the renovation. Residents, City Council members, and the Mayor all voiced their concern for how a property like this located in the historic district may inhibit tourism, historic preservation and overall beautification efforts. However, because of the zoning classification and the existing structures, there’s nothing the City Council can do to stop the project from moving forward.
An interesting agenda item introduced at the meeting would approve an option agreement in favor of Cane River Solar LLC to lease a 171.22 acre tract of land situated south of the Pilgrim’s Pride Feed Mill in the Natchitoches Industrial Park for a three-year period to potentially operate a solar farm. A study needs to be performed to determine the feasibility of such a project, but Posey said it has potential benefits for Natchitoches.
Another property matter introduced at the meeting would extend the City limits to annex 87.3 acres of land located adjacent to Parc Natchitoches on University Parkway for future residential development by the land owner.
Other agenda items included:
PLANNING & ZONING – INTRODUCTION:
Declare Certain Buildings Unsafe And Recommend That Same Be Demolished Or Put Into Repair To Comply With The Building Code: 1457 Washington Street, 1429 Washington Street, 717 Pavie Street, and 312 Second Street
PLANNING & ZONING – FINAL:
Amend Ordinance No. 64 Of 2001 By Changing
Zoning Classification Of Property Described As Follows:
Lots 9, 10 And 11 Of Readhimer Subdivision From R-1 Residential To R-1 Residential, Special Exception To Operate A Law Office. (1736 Washington St.)
ORDINANCES – FINAL:
Authorize An Agreement And Amendment To Easements Between Evans Family, L.L.C. And The City Of Natchitoches, Providing For The Asphalt Overlay Of A Gravel Road And Further Amending The Terms Of Existing Rights Of Way In Favor Of The City Of Natchitoches
Approve A Conveyance Of A 4.774 Acre Tract Of Land To Archie’s Towing Service, L.L.C., For $254,500
Authorize The Mayor Of The City Of Natchitoches, Louisiana, To Enter Into A Cooperative Agreement With The Louisiana Department Of Veterans Affairs To Support The Cost To Operate And Maintain The Natchitoches Parish Veterans Service Office.
Approve The Assignment And Assumption Agreement And First Amendment To Lease Agreement Of That Lease Of Lot 1A Of The Natchitoches Regional Airport From Med-Trans Corporation To Air Evac EMS, Inc.
Authorize The Mayor To Accept And Execute A Grant Agreement From The Federal Aviation Administration For A Project At The Natchitoches Regional Airport
The next scheduled City Council meeting will be August 12, 2019.