ST. FRANCISVILLE — The West Feliciana Parish Council voted Monday against amending two planning and zoning ordinances concerning subdivision regulations, effectively killing plans for the proposed Parkview Estates subdivision.
After the votes, Public Works Director Jim Ferguson said the owners of the proposed subdivision will likely pull their application because of continuing opposition from area residents and members of the council.
Parkview Estates, a proposed 27-lot subdivision on a 38-acre tract off La. 966, was represented at Monday’s meeting by co-owner Courtney Tucker and engineer Greg Ferris.
“We have a beautiful parish, and I want it to stay that way,” Councilman Ricky Lambert said before the votes. He said he wants to see an ordinance that is clear and concise.
“I’m tired of an administration that is telling developers how to get around our ordinances,” said Councilman John Kean, directing his comment at Ferguson, who took exception to the remark.
The first vote, on whether or not to pass an ordinance as written, was supported by council members Mel Percy, Otis Wilson and Heather Howle.
Voting against were Kean, Lambert, Lea Williams and Melvin Young.
The second vote, which would have added language to an ordinance on street and sidewalk improvements, was nixed 5-2 with only Percy and Wilson supporting it while the others opposed.
And on Monday, there was yet another contentious discussion on a proposed ordinance — up for public hearing only — to dismiss all claims and counter claims between the parish and the Lambert Gravel Co. and the successors of Paul A. Lambert Sr. in the ongoing lawsuit over disputed riverfront property.
The heirs of Paul Lambert Sr. and the Lambert Gravel Co. have sued the parish, claiming they own a 73-acre tract along the Mississippi River that parish residents had been using for a ferry landing and then for a boat launch. The parish had been paying $1,000 a month for the access, but when they stopped, the Lamberts erected a barricade. When the parish took down the barricade, the Lamberts sued.
Parish resident Bob Butler supported Young’s proposed ordinance, saying, “There are ways of resolving this matter. We’re throwing good money away on possessory action.”
The lawsuit has cost the parish an estimated $500,000 so far on legal fees and expenses.
Parish resident Hamilton Willis said he is concerned about the parish stepping on private property rights.
Susie Tully, who lives in St. Francisville, said “the presumption is the parish doesn’t have a case,” but she insisted that industrial operations like those on the disputed property by Lambert Gravel belong in other parts of the parish.
Attorney Dennis Blunt, who represents the parish, suggested some of the language in Young’s proposed ordinance needs to be changed to reflect an equitable position for both the parish’s and the Lamberts’ interests.
In another matter, the council adopted its 2015 meeting schedule, with two meetings a month on the second and fourth Mondays beginning in February. A single meeting next month will be held on Jan. 20, with public hearings slated for amending the parish’s Home Rule Charter and for a discussion of the new “4-and-1” election districts and whole voting precincts.