ST. FRANCISVILLE — The Board of Aldermen on Tuesday authorized the town’s building official to issue an order to West Feliciana Parish to immediately halt work on an old grocery store building.
The parish purchased the old Feliciana Supermarket building, at 12292 Jackson Road, after its owners relocated their grocery business to the new Audubon Market on U.S. 6 1. The parish intends to renovate the building so it can house several social service organizations like the Council on Aging, the Clothes Closet and the Food Pantry.
The Board of Aldermen, however, contends Parish President Kevin Couhig has refused to authorize the work to be permitted by the town even though the building is located within town limits.
According to the motion, town officials have made repeated attempts to work out a resolution with Couhig and Director of Public Works Jim Ferguson.
Those attempts, the motion says, included compromises such as waiving the permit fee, expediting the application, granting a legal nonconforming sign status and allowing the parish building inspector to serve as a third-party provider for the inspections as long as the reports are submitted to Parnell.
Couhig said by email, “We have offered to cooperate with the request provided the town furnish us with the Louisiana statutory requirements. The town has acknowledged that no such statutory requirement exists.”
“I’m not sure what they’re hoping to accomplish by asking me to comply with a law that doesn’t exist,” Couhig said by phone when contacted Tuesday.
Couhig said no work is underway on the building because the project is out for bid.
“When a contractor is selected, the contractor will be required to apply for a building permit from the parish to ensure that all building codes (state and local) are followed as required by state law and parish ordinances,” Couhig wrote.
Parnell said in a letter dated March 11 to Ferguson that the town’s permit covers zoning, design board, signage and building code reviews. He wrote that it was his understanding “demolition of the interior has already started and the renovation drawings are at the (state) Fire Marshals for a Life Safety review.”
Until last month, Alan Dwyer, the parish’s building inspector, also served in the same capacity with the town. He was replaced by Parnell.