City Council considers special exception to downzoning in Historic District

One agenda item stood out from the others at Monday night’s City Council meeting on March 9. The planning and zoning ordinance was introduced to amend Ordinance No. 64 of 2001 by changing the zoning classification of property located at 124 Cypress Avenue from R-1 Residence One-Family to R-2 Residence Multiple-Family to convert an accessory building to a guest house. The Planning Commission recommended at its March 3 meeting that the application of Kirk and Jane Cordell be approved.

Director of Planning and Zoning Juanita Fowler cautioned Council members that they may be opening the door to more requests in the future if they approve this one. In May of 2005 the Planning Commission, at the request of the Historic District Homeowners Association changed the zoning classification of various properties to R-1 Residences in a comprehensive effort to downzone the historic district to preserve the overall integrity and livability.

“When the decision to rezone was made it was not done lightly,” she said. Fowler disagreed with this.

The conversion of the accessory building (a carriage house) into a two-story 3 bedroom unit for the Cordell’s daughter and two grandchildren to live in puts two permanent residences on the property. Per zoning requirements a second meter would need to be installed.

“This needs to be looked at comprehensively and not on an individual basis,” said Fowler. “Changing it for an individual request will be contrary to the intent of downzoning. Once added onto, it becomes a permanent residential unit. If we open the door we’ll have defeated what we’re trying to accomplish.”

Kirk, who has been a member of the Homeowners Association, said while they were trying to do a good thing 15 years ago, he doesn’t think they accomplished it. Mary Striegel lives in the vicinity of Cypress Avenue. While she was in favor of the downzoning, she attended the Council meeting to speak in favor of the Cordell’s application. Also, Kirk added that Janice Bolton attended the Planning Commission’s March 3 meeting to speak in favor of the rezoning. Kirk and Mary work at the National Center for Preservation Training and Technology (NCPTT), so preservation is their main focus, and was taken into consideration for this conversion project.

The next scheduled City Council meeting will be Monday, March 23, 2020.

Other agenda items include:


Authorize A Lease Of That Area Under Fence At The Natchitoches Regional Airport For Hay Operations With James Russell Stacy

Enter Into A Lease Of A 25 Acre Tract In The Industrial Park For Hay Operations With James R. Stacy

Enter Into A Lease Of A 29.7 Acre Tract In The Industrial Park For Hay Operations With M & M Farms Of Cane River, L.L.C.

Execute A Lease In Favor Of Air Evac Ems, Inc., Of Lot 7, Lot 8 And Lot 20 Of The Natchitoches Regional Airport

Amend Chapter 28.1 Of The Code Of Ordinances, Entitled Stormwater Code, By Adopting Sections 28.1, Article X, Subsections 28.1-192 Through 28.1-195 Providing For Drainage Standards.


Amend Chapter 26 Of The Code Of Ordinances, Entitled Police, In Order To Amend Section 26-2 Which Section Provides For The Implementation Of A Program To Allow A Police Officer To Acquire His Service Firearm Upon Retirement


Execute Change Order No. 5 To The Contract Between The City Of Natchitoches And Ratcliff Construction Company, LLC For The Natchitoches Sports & Recreation Park.

Execute an Agreement With The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (LA DOTD) for improvements at the Natchitoches Regional Airport. (Rehabilitate Drainage – Phase II Design)

Provide Notice Of Intention To Levy And Collect A One Percent (1%) Sales And Use Tax Upon The Sale At Retail, The Use, The Lease Or Rental, The Consumption And Storage For Use Or Consumption, Of Tangible Personal Property And On Sales Of Services In The District For A Period Commencing On January 1, 2021 And Ending On April 1, 2036 Within The Boundaries Of Natchitoches Economic Development District D