ST. FRANCISVILLE — West Feliciana Parish needs a plan to develop infrastructure to support industrial growth in the southern part of the parish, Police Jury President Ken Dawson told his fellow jurors.
Dawson, who is running for state representative, called for three jurors to volunteer for meetings with the jury staff to come up with a plan for financing water system and other infrastructure improvements in the area near the paper mill and River Bend nuclear power plant.
Voters turned down two sales tax proposals for infrastructure improvements in November 2008 and November 2009.
Dawson’s call went unanswered during Tuesday’s Police Jury meeting, however, as some jurors and audience members voiced skepticism about a report by interim Parish Manager John Hashagen and Dawson that a company dropped the parish from a list of potential sites for a proposed industrial investment between $500 million and $1 billion.
Hashagen said the company cited the lack of industrial zoning and water supply in the area, as well as the estimated $2 million needed to reopen a Canadian National Railroad line closed after Hurricane Gustav.
Juror Lea Williams and others said a zoning change could have been rushed through with a minimum of delay, but Dawson said the firm, which he would not name, wanted a site that already was zoned for industrial use.
The parish has zoning regulations, but a new comprehensive land-use ordinance is being developed for zoning and land development.
Planning and Zoning Commission Chairman Steve McKinney reported his group is working on maps needed to complete the ordinance for the parish, which was adapted from a land-use “tool kit” developed for statewide use by the Center for Planning Excellence in Baton Rouge.
The commission has finished editing the text of the document, McKinney said, adding the proposed ordinance, when completed, would be posted on the jury’s website in advance of public hearings.
School Superintendent Hollis Milton also asked the jury not to forget an economic development survey done last year that shows residents are overwhelmingly in favor of new subdivisions, large chain stores and shopping centers.
Other topics covered during the meeting included:
HEALTH UNIT TRANSFER: Jurors approved West Feliciana Parish Hospital’s request to return to the hospital district the three acres of land on which the parish health unit was built. The hospital district gave the jury the property when the jury built the health unit.
Hospital Administrator Lee Chastant said the hospital wants use of the building to attempt to expand services to the public since the state Department of Health and Hospitals has cut health unit operations to two days a week.
NOISE COMPLAINTS: Hashagen reported that a compromise may be in the offing in regard to nuisance complaints lodged by residents who live near the John Moss property north of St. Francisville.
Moss’ son, a professional motorcycle rider, uses the property for practice, but Hashagen and Frank Farmer, a neighbor, said Moss is supposed to move the track and limit the number of riders using it.