CLINTON — After saying last week they would not approve a subdivision plat because a barn extends into a servitude of passage, East Feliciana Parish police jurors reversed themselves Tuesday.
Jurors approved the subdivision plat for Barry Dwire Jr. after the seller, Mike Mullens, claimed Parish Planning and Commission Chairman Richard Howell overrode the commission by “speaking negatively” against the commission’s vote to grant the two a variance for the intrusion into the servitude.
Howell said he merely pointed out in the Dec. 7 jury meeting that the commission, with two members dissenting, did not follow the parish’s ordinance because a variance requires a public hearing.
Jurors said on Dec. 7 they agreed with Howell but changed their tune Tuesday when Mullens complained that Howell’s “personal decision” is jeopardizing Dwire’s plans to be out of his current home by Dec. 26.
The meeting was the last in the jurors’ current terms and the final meeting for jury President Dennis Aucoin and Juror Larry Beauchamp. Aucoin did not seek a third term in the fall elections, and Beauchamp was defeated Oct. 24 by Michael Cheatham.
Beauchamp, who served a total of 20 years, thanked the other jurors for “coming together” during the past eight years to get the jury on a sound financial footing and to overlay 77 miles of parish roads with money the jury managed to save up over several years.
“This is the first time that the jury has taken money generated only in this parish and overlaid any roads,” he said.
Beauchamp also commended Aucoin as “the best man I’ve ever served with.”
Aucoin, who only voted during his terms as president to break ties, was called into action Tuesday when jurors were split 4-4 on filling a vacancy on the board of commissioners for Gas Utility District 2, which serves the Ethel area.
Jurors Ed Brooks, Dwight Hill, Jason McCray and Louis Kent wanted to reappoint Donna Allen to the board, while Chris Hall, Keith Mills, Sean Smith and Beauchamp supported Johnny Strain. To break the tie, Aucoin voted for Strain.
Jurors have been more attentive to the district since 2013, when several of them discovered the district’s equipment being used on private property on behalf of a private water company. They also criticized district Director Michael Bradford and district employees for working off the clock to install gas lines on private property and undercutting area plumbers.
Hall said before the meeting he wanted Strain to sit on the board because Strain would not be “pushed around” by Bradford, who is the School Board president and a prominent political force in the parish.