City Council revisits Summer Tree Apartment Complex, plans to repeal 2019 condemnation decision

The Natchitoches City Council introduced an ordinance to repeal a portion of Ordinance No. 029 and No. 041 of 2019, relative To Declaring Certain Buildings Unsafe And Recommending The Buildings To Be Demolished Or Repaired To Comply With The Building Code, And To Otherwise Provide With Respect Thereto. There is litigation ongoing surrounding the status of this property.

Mayor Ronnie Williams Jr. said the current Council is ready to repeal the former Council’s decision from 2019, however the feeling isn’t mutual with all the Council members.

“I’m kinda disappointed this is on the agenda to be honest because of the history of it,” said Council member Eddie Harrington. He said he’s ashamed that the Council gave the property owners as long as they did in the first place to bring the property up to code. Other citizens haven’t received more than 60 days, but the bank that owns the property has drug this out over 5 years.

“They sued us and now they have the audacity to come before us to grant it back to them,” he added. “I can’t vote for it because I have to answer to my constituents.”

City Attorney Alex Washington said he’s been assured that the City will receive a timeline for project completion if the Council decides to repeal the condemnation order from 2019.

According to Council member Dale Nielsen, the one thing the property owners have been consistent on is giving the Council assurances and then not following through on them.

The City Council also reviewed a decision of the Natchitoches Planning and Zoning Commission at its Jan. 5 meeting that denied the application for a variance request (of 13 feet of the 25 ft front yard setback). This is only a 2 foot difference from what the porch was originally and what it is now.

Homeowner Lyla Spillman explained that on Aug. 28 the house was seriously damaged during Hurricane Laura when two trees fell on the house. They had it replaced along with the front porch cover.

Planning and Zoning Director Shontrell Roque said the new porch cover was a non conforming structure at the time of the hurricane. After a storm you have up to 6 months to rebuild the preexisting structure as it existed.

The Council decided to table this item based on a final recommendation that the homeowners go back before Planning and Zoning with an option to adjust the design of the front porch.

Other agenda items included:

Resolution Proclaiming The Month Of February 2021 As African American History Month In The City Of Natchitoches.

Approve A ‘Second Amendment To That Lease Entered Into With The United States Government’ For The Lease All Or A Portion Of The Property Located At 607 Trudeau Street/Depot Street And 720 Sixth Street.

Authorize A Franchise In Favor Of Paul’s Party Boat, To Operate A Tour Boat Business Within The City Limits Of The City Of Natchitoches.

Enter Into A Contract With Travelers Casualty And Surety Company Of America For The Public Official Schedule Bond For The City Of Natchitoches.

Enter Into A Master Services Agreement With KSA Engineers Inc.

Enter Into A Contract With Employers Risk Management Services As The Workers Compensation Third Party Administrator For The City Of Natchitoches.

Execute A Certificate Of Substantial Completion To The Contract Between The City Of Natchitoches And DSW Construction For Renovations At 720 6th Street (Eagle Building)

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

The next scheduled City Council meeting will be Monday, February 22, 2021.

The offices of the City of Natchitoches will be closed Monday, February 15, 2021 in honor of President’s Day.


9 thoughts on “City Council revisits Summer Tree Apartment Complex, plans to repeal 2019 condemnation decision

  1. The new City Attorney says the owners are going to give assurances and a timeline? So we are now back to square one with these people? Yeah, I’m with those saying we need to follow the money. More steps backwards.

  2. Just goes to show you there is one set of rules for the “common” public and another set for individuals with “influence” that those in power can benefit from. I am sick of this crap. Everyone needs to be held to the same standards!

    At this point, it is going to cost more to repair even more damage and neglect. Tear it down then build a proper structure to help those in need. It is not rocket science.

  3. May as well tear it down. As long as it’s been vacant it hasn’t served any purpose. Just an ugly eyesore.

  4. Super disappointed in the decision, it makes no sense!
    The city has torn down buildings enforcing regulations and codes against owners wishes in the past.
    But, they are gonna argue for the little guy and the poor but then turn around and give a big bank extra chances and a do over…seems wrong!
    Not to mention they were trying to turn it into a shelter for homeless and homeless veterans, when that is not a problem this town has…they would be importing the problem. This town has enough problems of its own…it shouldn’t import new ones.

    • Homelessness is actually an issue in the Parish. There are programs mainly aimed at women with children. There are also options for veterans but the closest location with resources is Alexandria. You would be surprised at the number of men in our area that go homeless throughout the year. Being a smaller community they are usually able to couch surf until they can get back on their feet. There are no real resources to help individuals thrive at being independent though. I do believe a shelter would be an invite for people who choose to live the lifestyle, but there should be more to help those that usually fall through the cracks. Even with the programs directed towards women with children there is a lengthy waiting time.

    • Corbin: Maybe you don’t see the homeless because if someone homeless is found and in need of shelter, there is no where to take them. I have tried to help homeless people in Natchitoches- not many of course. But the problem does exist.

      So sad that so little is ever said by government about our homeless population.

  5. I didn’t catch why the council is in favor of repealing a previous decision. What has changed that makes repealing the earlier decision in the best interest of the citizens of Natchitoches?

  6. I’m very disappointed that the Mayor and Council would consider reversing their decision to condemn the property bordering Second Street. The old apartment buildings are a huge eyesore in the Historic District. The owners were given more than one chance to begin renovations and they did not do so in a timely manner. Time to tear this down and move on.

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