Seeking more information on reports that people are living in shabby vehicles parked on a used car lot along a main thoroughfare, the Zachary City Council on Tuesday asked the city to issue a subpoena to the owner of the property.

The move will require the owner of 4101 La. 19 — the site of Clark Crain Pre-Owned Superstore — to appear before the council at its next meeting, which is set for Sept. 28. According to Tuesday’s council agenda, the city wants an explanation as to “why damages should not be assessed for failure to abide for public safety ordinances.”

Councilman John LeBlanc described the lot as “filthy,” saying several cars have busted-out windows and are littered with food containers. The problem has been going on for a while, he said, and has recently gotten worse.

“They actually have vagrants living in them now. The police have been called over there at least a couple of times,” he said, adding that the business’ office appears to be unmanned.

LeBlanc is concerned that if the current issues continue, the lot could end up being a haven for drug usage and prostitution. That’s particularly worrisome given that it is located along La. 19 and many people drive past it every day, he said.

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“That’s a gateway into the city,” LeBlanc said. “Do people want to pass this? It’s an eyesore.”

The Zachary Police Department will have to serve the owner with the subpoena.

City Attorney John Hopewell noted that it is the land owner — not the business operator — who is being subpoenaed and is ultimately responsible for what happens on the property.

“We’re not privy to the contract with the person that he’s leased it to,” Hopewell said. “That may be what they agreed to. That unfortunately doesn’t comport with our ordinances.”