ST. FRANCISVILLE — The West Feliciana Parish Police Jury voted 4-3 pm Tuesday, after an hourlong public hearing, to put off acting on a request to declare a motocross track a public nuisance because of its noise.
Juror John Roach, who moved to table the matter, said he wanted to hear for himself the sound made by bikes used for practice by a professional motorcycle rider on his father’s property in the area of Airport and Mahoney roads north of St. Francisville.
Six people who live near the track told the jury in a public hearing that the noise created by the dirt bikes is excessive, intrusive and pervasive when Morgan Moss and friends ride near their homes.
Thirty people signed a petition calling for an end to the riding.
“The noise has been unbearable,” said Anne Butler, who said the sound hurts business at her nearby bed-and-breakfast.
Property owner John Moss, who lives in North Carolina, said the jury does not have a noise ordinance that addresses the level of sound produced by his son on the bikes.
Moss also argued that he has a professional training facility on his property, rather than a “track,” and the noise is not excessive.
“We’re not talking about a nuisance; we’re talking about a livelihood,” Moss said, saying the noise does not affect his own bed-and-breakfast business.
Jurors Roach, John Cobb, Ken Dawson and Billy Shoemake voted to table a decision, while Lea Williams, Otis Wilson and Randy Stevens dissented.
Jurors said they will go to the site, in two groups, on Thursday.
Other matters the jury considered included:
CONSULTANT FEES: Parish resident John Kean questioned jury payments to consultant Thomas Keene, of Baton Rouge, for invoices related to an economic development study committee, but Dawson ruled him out of order after Kean persisted with his questions.
Kean said the jury paid $4,850 to a non-existent company for Keene to write a mission statement for the group, which Kean called a “joke, juvenile and something a seventh-grader would have written.”
“This is not a mission statement. This is a very simple statement of objectives,” Kean said.
Walter Oliveaux, a member of the committee when it was operating, said he had never seen the mission statement.
“It’s nothing but a restatement of the letter given us by the jury president,” Oliveaux said.
Kean said Keene, who is not related to him, was the only paid member of the committee, which made a number of recommendations to the jury earlier this year.
“It was for facilitation to keep the committee’s work moving forward,” Dawson said before telling Kean he had to sit down.
“As a facilitator, we were not impressed,” Oliveaux said.