City Council members and residents alike Dec. 22 voiced concerns that a new subdivision proposed for Rollins Road could add too many more vehicles to the already-busy two-lane road, prompting the council to table making a decision on whether to approve the plans.
Discussion of a preliminary plat for the 235-lot subdivision, called Zachary Farms, took up a good portion of the meeting — the council’s last gathering of 2020.
It also was John LeBlanc’s first meeting as a councilman. LeBlanc, who recently won a special election to serve out the remaining two years of former District 2 Councilman Brandon Noel’s term, was sworn into office.
Zachary Farms would be located on 106 acres on Rollins Road near Rollins Place. Representatives of the project insisted the subdivision would not make traffic conditions on the road any worse.
Council members and residents in the audience weren’t buying it.
“Rollins Road is one of the worst roads in Zachary,” said Councilman Lael Montgomery. Not only is the road busy with traffic from new subdivisions in the area and nearby Rollins Place Elementary School, he said, it’s also in poor shape.
Rollins Road doesn’t have shoulders and is riddled with potholes. It’s in line for repairs under the parishwide MoveBR tax plan; however, those improvements are likely years away.
Mickey Robertson, an engineer speaking on behalf of the Zachary Farms proposal, pointed out that it would be years before the subdivision is fully built — and by then, the MoveBR road upgrades may be complete.
“This is a five- to eight-year project,” he said of the subdivision. “If you approve this project tonight ... it’ll be over a year before the first house is built.”
Council members said they wanted more time to study the situation. They’ll take the plans up again at a later meeting.
In other action:
- The council gave Mayor David Amrhein permission to lease the downtown train depot to someone who’s planning to turn it into a restaurant serving barbecue and craft beer. The building was important during Zachary’s early days as a railroad town and for years has housed artifacts related to that history. Those items, along with collections that were located in the nearby historic houses that the city recently auctioned off, have been consolidated to the old Town Hall as the city works on a downtown revitalization effort.
- The council approved site plans for Spillway Boilers, a restaurant to be located on Old Scenic Highway, and for an addition to the Tractor Supply Co. store on Main Street.
- Police Chief David McDavid introduced nine newly hired officers, many of whom come to his department with prior law enforcement experience. “Each one of these officers here today wants to make a difference,” the chief said.
- McDavid also presented a plaque to the family of Edward Brown, who worked as a school crossing guard for 12 years and recently died.