The microphone groaned and crackled as Livingston Parish Planning Director Sam Digirolamo pulled it closer to his face to answer the council chairman’s question for a third time.

Had Southern Aggregates’ plans for a new gravel mining operation in Watson met all parish requirements, including the new regulations sponsored by Councilman Jim Norred, whose neighborhood will be right next to the pits?

“Yes,” Digirolamo responded once again.

Norred missed the Parish Council meeting Thursday night to deal with a personal emergency, and in his absence, Chairman Chance Parent had asked, repeatedly and pointedly, whether the project Norred and his neighbors had so vehemently opposed had met all the legal requirements for council approval.

Humored by Digirolamo’s succinct but emphatic reply, several council members laughed and spurred him on: “What was that? I didn’t hear that, Mr. Sam. Could you repeat that one more time?”

The vote was unanimous to approve the company’s preliminary site plans.

Advocate staff writer Heidi Kinchen contributed to this report