Zoning board denies Drummond homeowner request for B&B|[02/06/08]

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 6, 2008

A Drummond Street homeowner’s second petition to open a bed and breakfast home at 2300 Drummond St. ran up against a resistant neighborhood association Tuesday and failed to garner a vote of approval from zoning board members.

Allowing Mary Jourdan to open a bed and breakfast, restaurant and gift shop in her home at the corner of Drummond and Harris streets would disrupt residential life, members of the Fostoria Neighborhood Association told the Vicksburg Zoning Board of Appeals.

Although two other B&Bs operate in the area, the lay panel denied a Nov. 6 request for a zoning change from residential to commercial for the property. That prompted Jourdan and her attorney, Cliff Whitney, to bring a petition Tuesday to amend the city ordinance to allow tour homes to operate in residential zones by special exception.

Email newsletter signup

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletters

Check which newsletters you would like to receive
  • Vicksburg News: Sent daily at 5 am
  • Vicksburg Sports: Sent daily at 10 am
  • Vicksburg Living: Sent on 15th of each month

Under current zoning rules, tourist homes may operate on property zoned CBR-4, which permits commercial, business and multifamily uses. Special exception must first be granted by the zoning board.

The proposed amendment would have allowed the zoning board to grant special exceptions case-by-case to homes listed individually on the National Register of Historic Places, or designated as Vicksburg Landmarks, in residential zones. Zoning would not need to change. Under the proposed amendment, commercial use of the buildings would have been limited by the ordinance, but would have included restaurant dining and gift shops.

In November, neighbors had objected to Jourdan’s request for commercial zoning, saying they feared it would set a precedent for zoning change in the area, a neighborhood zoned residential. Neighbors also said they feared other sorts of businesses being built on property zoned CBR-4.

In their objections Tuesday, neighbors said there would be drawbacks to living next door to a tour home and restaurant — though 2300 Drummond is not named in the ordinance and Jourdan would have had to appeal through the zoning for her own special exception.

Mac Fulghum of 2323 Drummond spoke on behalf of the Fostoria Neighborhood Association. Parking, traffic and noise were top among concerns of the association.

“We are very resistant of commercial activity encroaching on our neighborhood,” Fulghum said.

Bill Mounger, 2308 Drummond, said Jourdan was an excellent neighbor, but said he feared that tourist activity at her home would disturb his way of life. Betty Jackson, who owns the Cherry Street Cottages at 2212 Cherry St. and 2215 Drummond, said she thought other cities with many such tourist homes should be studied before a decision was made. Jackson’s property is CBR-4. Also in the area is Stained Glass Manor at 2430 Drummond, which is believed to have been operating before the zoning restrictions were set, meaning it is “grandfathered” as a nonconforming use.

Whitney pointed out that the board would not be voting Tuesday on an application but on a change of process.

“The issue of parking can be addressed when Mrs. Jourdan submits her request for the special exception,” he said.

But the four present board members voted against the proposed amendment.

Jourdan has 10 days to submit an appeal to the Board of Mayor and Aldermen.

Also Tuesday, the board granted a variance to lot size and front and rear yard setback requirements for new home construction at 107 Brown Alley, requested by Lloyd Calder for Jim Walter Homes.

The board also granted Triumph Church, at 136 Honeysuckle Lane, a variance to allow a 260-square-foot, 35-foot-high sign that could be visible from Interstate 20.