Company that proposed River Road barge-cleaning facility faces deadline to revise or withdraw application _lowres


Owners of the proposed barge cleaning facility along River Road in Baton Rouge have about 15 more days to decide if they’re going to withdraw the application or revise it to meet new zoning regulations.

The facility proposed by Tubal-Cain Marine Services came under fire earlier this year when neighbors became aware that a barge cleaning facility could be located near parks and residential areas of south Baton Rouge near 6800 River Road.

After a number of elected officials, LSU, BREC and a neighborhood association came out opposed to the proposed facility, the Baton Rouge Metro Council in August rezoned the property from heavy industrial to commercial in order to block it.

Although it was widely held that this would effectively kill the permit, the state Department of Environmental Quality continued its review.

However, on Nov. 3, DEQ sent a letter to Tubal-Cain outlining the zoning changes and the impact on the permit review, according to DEQ public records. While the rezoning would allow some service-related activities, the new zoning “does not appear to sanction industrial operations such as barge cleaning facility,” the letter says.

Short of the Metro Council reversing its rezoning decision, the project as proposed can’t move forward although the air permit application remains pending at DEQ.

The company was given 30 days to withdraw its application or revise it to conform to the new zoning restrictions while knowing that DEQ would need to consider current zoning in its permit decision.

“At this time, Tubal-Cain’s air permit application remains pending,” the letter says.

As of Monday, DEQ had not received a response from the company. An email to Tubal-Cain Operations Manager Randy Cooper asking for comment wasn’t returned Monday.

DEQ officials said they couldn’t comment on what will happen next if they receive no response from the company after the 30 days was up.