> News > Local News > August 2018 > Natchez board revamps city development rules
Bookmark this page!  
Latest News

Natchez board revamps city development rules
from Staff Reports - NEWS
August 15, 2018 -

By John Mott Coffey

NATCHEZ, Miss. -- City aldermen revised downtown development regulations Tuesday that unintentionally disallowed properties being used for new bars, museums, townhouses and other structures that already exist in the Natchez Historic District.

The changes correct mistakes made in 2014, when the Board of Aldermen had city development regulations rewritten that inadvertently prohibited a variety of common uses for downtown properties. The city development code governs construction and land use in Natchez.

The regulations adopted four years ago didn’t even include new parks and government buildings on the list of permitted land uses, said Rico Giani, Natchez’ director of planning and zoning.

The disallowed land uses didn’t apply to those that existed prior to the regulations’ 2014 enactment. The development code contains rules for construction, what types of structures can be located in particular sections of town, how land can be used, the process for getting city approval to build and penalties for violating the development rules.

In his report to the board, Giani noted “a diverse land use is vital to the success of downtowns.”

The revisions approved by aldermen Tuesday comes after they adopted a plan in May drawn up by consultants on how to revitalize downtown Natchez. Among the top priorities they presented was to change the city zoning restrictions that eliminated the new developments. The downtown revitalization plan was sponsored by FOR Natchez, a private community organization working to foster more downtown development.


The Board of Aldermen appointed city Community Development Director James Johnston to be interim city clerk. He’ll replace Megan Edmonds at the end of this work week effective Saturday. Edmonds announced in July that she’s resigning after serving about 18 months as city clerk.

Johnston will be the fourth city clerk Natchez has had since Mayor Darryl Grennell took office two years ago. Grennell said Tuesday he and the board are seeking a permanent clerk to serve as the city’s chief financial officer. The published notice for the job opening says prospects have until early September to apply. Prior to Grennell’s election as mayor in 2012, the city clerk had been an elected post – one held for 16 years by Donnie Holloway.

Inept and poorly trained city clerks and a high turnover of staffers in recent years has contributed to many inaccuracies, inconsistencies and unrecorded financial details for the mayor and Board of Aldermen as they oversaw a $28 million annual budget. Outside certified public accountants have spent the past couple of years helping city officials straighten up what Grennell called “financial chaos” when he took office in July 2016.


There was no public discussion Tuesday by the board and mayor about annexing parts of Adams County outside the city. Grennell said after the meeting that an earlier agenda mistakenly had the board set with an attorney to discuss annexation’s potential litigation. The board could seek to expand the city’s boundaries to take in more businesses and residents to serve and tax. | © 2014 | All Rights Reserved
Privacy Policy | Terms of Use | EEO | Contact Us