The City Council took action on two planning and zoning ordinances to uphold the integrity of the historic district at its meeting Monday night, Aug. 26. The first ordinance declared certain buildings unsafe and recommended that they be demolished or put into repair to comply with the building code. These properties included 1457 Washington Street, 1429 Washington Street, 717 Pavie Street and 312 Second Street.
The property that came under fire at the meeting was 312 Second Street, which is better known as the Summertree Apartments. No work has been done on the renovation project on the apartments building in about 2 years. A representative from Hopeville Partners LP in Georgia was present to inform the council that a new contractor after the original developer for the project defaulted on the loan. The over $3 million in tax credits attained to fund this project will be lost by Dec. 31, 2020.
The Council voted to pass the ordinance, which means the apartments will be demolished. Council woman Sylvia Morrow voted against the ordinance because she said she was in favor of the project moving forward. While the representative asked the Council to give them more time, Mayor Lee Posey said the community has been very tolerant to try and let this project happen, but it hasn’t.
Council member Eddie Harrington said the big issue for him was the possible negative impact allowing a vacant building in disrepair like this apartment complex would have on the City’s historic district designation. Council member Dale Nielsen said all the Council has gotten regarding this project is lip service.
City Attorney Ron Corkern said part of the package to attain tax credits for renovation projects like this one requires a certification of need from the City. While Natchitoches has signed off on a number of these in the past, the project in question was a done deal by the time the City learned about it because the certifications are no longer a requirement. He also said that while the City may have had a waiting list for low income housing 20 years ago, the wait is almost non existent as of today.
The other ordinance in the hot seat was one to rezone the house located at 219 Williams Avenue from R-1 Residential to R-1 Residential-Special Exception for Ted Methvin to operate a dental office. Residents came out to oppose this rezoning at previous City Council meetings and they were back at Monday night’s meeting. Methvin said he saw putting his dental practice on Williams as an opportunity to do something positive for the community, but neighbors didn’t feel the same way. The Council unanimously voted against the rezoning.
Other agenda items included:
ORDINANCES – FINAL:
#030 Nielsen Ordinance Extending The City Limits Of The City Of Natchitoches Annexing Six Tracts Situated In Section 83, Township 9 North, Range 7 West, And Sections 25 And 40, Township 9 North, Range 8 West, Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana, One Of Said Tracts Lying East Of Limekiln Road And South Of Rue De Gabriel, As Extended, And Five Of Said Tracts Situated Between Louisiana Highway 6 And Louisiana Highway 3278, And Adjacent To The Existing Municipal Limits Of The City Of Natchitoches, Being A Total Of 87.3 Acres, More Or Less, And Further Providing For The Fixing Of A Public Hearing, Advertisement, Fixing Council District For Same, Fixing Zoning Classification And Providing For An Effective Date Of The Ordinance.
ORDINANCES – INTRODUCTION:
#033 Morrow Ordinance Authorizing The City To Convey Lot 4 Of Block AE Of Roy Addition To The City Of Natchitoches To Joe Raggio And Janie Raggio, Setting The Terms And Conditions Of Same, And Authorizing The Execution Of The Deed Or Deeds By The Mayor After Due Compliance With The Law.
#062 Batiste Resolution Approving A Lease And Agreement Between Northwestern State University And The City Of Natchitoches For Test Water Well To Be Located In Section 137, Township 9 North, Range 7 West, And Authorizing The Mayor To Execute The Lease And Agreement On Behalf Of The City Of Natchitoches, Louisiana
#063 Mims Resolution Approving The Granting Of A Right Of Way And Easement In Favor Of Atmos Energy Corporation Over And Across Property Owned By The City Of Natchitoches, And Located On The Easterly Right Of Way Of Boyd Street At Its Intersection With Bossier Street, City And Parish Of Natchitoches, Louisiana, Approving The Form Of The Right Of Way And Easement And Further Authorizing The Mayor To Execute The Right Of Way And Easement And Any Other Related Documents
#064 Harrington Resolution Authorizing The Mayor To Advertise For Bids For Liquid Chlorine For The Water Treatment Plant (Bid No. 0621)
#065 Nielsen Resolution Appointing Members To The Mayor’s Health And Fitness Council For The City Of Natchitoches
The next scheduled City Council meeting will be September 9, 2019
The City of Natchitoches offices will be closed on Friday, August 30, 2019 for Employee Appreciation Day and Monday, September 2, 2019 in honor of Labor Day.