LIVINGSTON — The public will get to voice its opinion of a proposed set of gravel pit regulations for Livingston Parish at a Dec. 11 public hearing, the Parish Council decided.
The regulations were put forward by Councilman Jim Norred, who proposed the plan after Southern Aggregates announced that it would start mining gravel near Oak Hill Subdivision in Watson.
Councilwoman Joan Landry had introduced a scaled-down version of Norred’s proposal, but after considerable discussion, Norred offered his plan as an alternative and his plan ultimately passed.
Several council members said they voted in favor of Norred’s proposal on Thursday but said their final decision would not be made after until the December public hearing.
Voting for the Norred amendment were council members Marshall Harris, Ricky Goff, Ronald Sharp, Delos Blackwell and Norred. Chance Parent and Landry voted “no.” Council members Cindy Wale Franz and Sonya Collins were absent from the meeting.
Norred’s plan would govern the opening and operation of a gravel pit. The plan would require a pit operator to meet with the Parish Planning Commission before any work began. It also calls on operators to submit a permit application that, among other things, outlines an excavation plan, limits work from 5 a.m. until 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday, manages dust and requires a plan explaining how the land would be reclaimed after work is done. Included in the plan is a 125-foot setback from residential areas and a 12-foot vegetative berm.
Speakers opposed to gravel pit operations complained that the parish engineer should not have the final say on pit operations.
Norred conceded that some requirements in an originally proposed ordinance were too harsh.
Kevin Black, vice president and general manager of Southern Aggregates, said much work had gone into the proposals up for consideration.
“People have concerns and fears about the gravel mining industry, and those fears are unfounded,” Black said “I welcome members of the council and residents of Livingston Parish to visit my pit and tour the facility.
“Once you see how we operate, those fears will go away. We are here to help you and work with you,” he said. “Our parish has many resources … lumber in the north and sand and gravel in the south. We want to mine these valuable resources in a responsible way.”