CLINTON — East Feliciana Parish police jurors stuck to their guns Tuesday in denying an attorney’s request to reconsider their earlier rejection of a subdivision plat jurors say does not conform to parish ordinances.
Jurors voted in August to rescind the Police Jury approval signatures for a division of property off La. 409 south of Clinton. Planning and Zoning Commission Chairman Richard Howell discovered that the subdivision contained 11 lots accessible by a private servitude, but the parish’s ordinance limits the number of such lots to four.
Carroll Devillier Jr., representing landowner Tommy Dudley, objected to the parish Planning and Zoning Commission voting last week to set a public hearing on Dudley’s appeal of the jury’s August vote. Devillier wanted the jury to hear the appeal Tuesday.
Jurors instead voted 8-0 to stand by their August decision to rescind the approval signatures of Parish Manager John Rouchon and Planning Commission members Bart Blackledge and Russ Hicks.
The motion by Juror Sean Smith suggests that Dudley resubmit a plat that meets parish requirements to the planning body.
When presented to the commission in March, the plat showed four lots, but Rouchon and the others signed a plat showing 11 lots without his knowledge, Howell has said.
A subdivision with more than four lots would require Dudley to purchase the servitude property and put in streets and other infrastructure meeting parish and state sanitation requirements.
Before the jury rescinded the subdivision’s approval, Dudley sold one of the lots.
Rouchon told jurors Tuesday that six lots accessible by the private servitude have existed since 2007, but the landowners who gave the servitude vehemently denied Rouchon’s claim.
On another subdivision question, the jury sent a subdivision off another private servitude on Maglone Road in Slaughter back to the Planning and Zoning Commission for reconsideration after Howell said his panel had approved it in error.
Howell said the jury’s ordinance allows a corporation to ask for only one subdivision off a private servitude, no matter where it might want a second one. The limit was set after a homebuilding corporation began building “mini-subdivisions” throughout the parish without building public streets and other infrastructure.
The day after the commission approved the plat for the Maglone Road property owned by a corporation headed by Jimmie Underwood, Rouchon signed it and several others the panel had approved.
Howell said he and the other commissioners were unaware that Underwood had developed property off other private roads in the parish.
Rouchon said jurors told him in their Oct. 5 meeting to expedite the approval of the plats the commission considered, but Howell said Rouchon acted before the jury had a chance to register its approval.
“Every time you get in this (subdivision) mess, it goes sideways like a Slip’N Slide,” Howell told Rouchon.
Former Sheriff Randy Maglone, who objected to the subdivision, said Underwood already has moved trailers to the property.
“Are we going to build trailer parks all over the parish? If so, I hope you get one,” Maglone told the jurors.