ST. FRANCISVILLE — Construction on a strip mall on U.S. 61 has stopped as the developer and the town's Architectural Review Board argue over bids for a rooftop parapet.
On Tuesday, the Board of Aldermen opted to not take action on the issue, even though Mayor Billy D'Aquilla had asked the board to allow the developer to resume construction on the Live Oak Centre.
The dispute arose when Pizza Hut, one of the strip center’s prospective tenants, had submitted revised architectural plans to the ARB. Those plans included a large exhaust venting system for the restaurant’s ovens that would be placed on the roof of the building. The venting system was not in the original plans.
The ARB had asked that developer Dick Lancaster add a parapet — a low protective shield wall — to the roof to visually block the vent from the highway. When he brought up the cost as an issue, the ARB asked to see three bids for the work in order that a compromise could be worked out.
D’Aquilla called a special meeting of the ARB nearly two weeks ago, but its members refused to budge.
On Tuesday, the aldermen opted to wait until the ARB approves the revised design before making the Board of Alderman takes up final approval. Without final approval, the work on the shopping center cannot progress, officials said.
Lancaster’s attorney, John Brumfield, asked the aldermen if they had provided any findings to the developer in writing that outlined the ARB's objections to the revised architectural plans.
Alderman Susie Tully said the holdup is the matter of Lancaster obtaining two more bids.
“We as a board requested the two (more) quotes, and we haven’t received them," Tully said. "That’s the holdup.”
In another matter, resident Sara Wilson-Rogers announced before the meeting that cleanup and repairs have begun on the Old Benevolent Society building on Ferdinand Street. Built in 1883, the structure is the oldest African-American burial lodge in West Feliciana Parish. The wooden shotgun structure is on the National Register of Historic Places and has recently undergone some major landscape work outside. Work is scheduled for Nov. 4 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. to fix the front porch and volunteers are welcome.
Additionally, town attorney Jesse Means read a proclamation recognizing the contributions of Russell Daniel, who died earlier this month. Daniel was a lifelong resident of West Feliciana Parish and served on the town council.
Police chief Scott Ford introduced Jordan Higgins, who is the newest officer hired by the St. Francisville Police Department. Higgins previously served in the Army for 10 years and he and his family recently moved to West Feliciana. He recently finished 28th of 100 contestants in a statewide National Guard shooting competition.