ST. FRANCISVILLE — After a spirited and sometimes contentious public hearing Monday, the West Feliciana Council approved by a 4-3 vote the preliminary plan for the Oak Run subdivision.
The preliminary plan for Oak Run, a proposed 27-lot subdivision on a 38-acre tract off La. 966, had been previously rejected by split votes of the council twice , despite unanimous recommendation of the parish’s Planning and Zoning Commission each time. Most recently, two minor requirements were specified as being needed to be addressed by developers Courtney and Brandon Tucker and engineer Greg Ferries. The modifications were made in the plan that was presented Monday.
However, during the public hearing discussion on the subdivision, council member Lea Williams brought up what she considered confusion about the parish’s ordinances pertaining to subdivisions, some of which were adopted in 1983 and others in 1994 and still others in 2005. She said that confusion was reason to consider delaying the subdivision’s approval.
However, Parish President Kevin Couhig and Public Works Director Jim Ferguson explained that ordinances adopted in 2014 superseded those previously adopted. In addition, a company hired by the parish, Municode, is working to update the parish’s ordinances, they said.
Williams persisted in presenting information that she said made the process of applying for subdivision approval confusing.
“I don’t think anybody is fooled by this conversation,” said Couhig. “It’s about growth and prosperity for the parish, and people that want to kill it.”
He also presented a petition signed by 163 parish residents supporting the subdivision and said the two issues brought up by the council before had been addressed by the developers. The majority of the speakers also supported approval of the plan.
Although she was concerned about the subdivision ordinance, Williams did join three other council members — John Kean, Ricky Lambert and Heather Howle — in voting for the subdivision. Voting against were Otis Wilson, Melvin Young and Mel Percy, who, after the vote, said he actually would have voted in favor of Kean’s substitute motion.
Later, the council voted against placing a moratorium on approving subdivisions. Voting for the moratorium were Kean and Williams, while Percy, Wilson, Howle and Young opposed it, with Lambert abstaining.
In other action, the council voted to authorize the purchase of the soon-to-be-vacant grocery store on Highway 10 for $592,500 plus an additional $300,000 for renovations. The building will be used to house the parish’s social services agencies and the Chamber of Commerce. The council also approved the purchase of two lots along the Mississippi River front for the development of a docking facility for river boats and 15 acres for recreational use.