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Planners eyeing Under-the-Hill for development

NATCHEZ — City planners are discussing plans to allow Natchez Under-the-Hill to open its doors for overnight guests.

The Natchez Planning Commission will meet Nov. 23 to hear from the public on a proposal to rezone the historic district under the Mississippi River to allow for guest houses.

City Planner Bob Nix tells The Natchez Democrat that opening a new guest house wouldn’t be as easy as putting out a welcome mat.

“The question becomes how do we deal with the facts of traffic and party noise,” he said. “Noise is a major source of conflict between residential and commercial properties.”

The change would also include language requiring any new structures or renovations of the exterior of existing structures to use approved sound absorbing building supplies to cut down on outside noises coming in, Nix said.

It isn’t impossible to strike a balance, Nix said.

Planning Commissioner Karen Stubbs said when amending zoning for the area, it is important to focus on the history and future of Natchez Under-the-Hill.

Currently there is one guest house under construction in Natchez Under-the-Hill. Nix said that structure, as long as work is done with proper permitting, would be grandfathered in and not required to be in line with the proposed changes.

The exemption is only for projects started before Oct. 21.

“What this does is establish a standard if other properties begin to open there,” Nix said.

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