Jurors consider zoning, economic development
By PAUL KEDINGER
“We need to lay some ground rules,” remarked Juror A.J. “Fatty” Broussard, as he opened discussion on parish-wide zoning during committee sessions of the Acadia Parish Police Jury Tuesday night.
Broussard acknowledged citizens had voiced concerns about restricting what they could do with their property, if zoning was imposed.
However, citing the Jury’s inability to vote on the placement of the juvenile center in Branch and the location of X-rated stores in the parish, Broussard remained committed to some form of zoning regulations.
Many of the jurors agreed. Jury John Quebodeaux remarked, “It’s time we do something. We have no tools in place to control anything.”
Juror Kermit Richard expressed concern about restrictions, as did Juror Thomas Sonnier, but Sonnier also admitted, “We need some mechanism in place, but not to hamstring businesses.”
Secretary-Treasurer Terry Lacombe interjected that Carencro is using land use ordinances to oversee residential, business and industrial development.
Jurors decided to direct Lacombe to poll other rural parishes to discover how they approach zoning. The Jury administrator did share a copy of the Jefferson Davis zoning ordinance which regulates agricultural, single family residential area and agricultural land.
In an allied issue, jurors debated committing two-tenths of the Jury’s annual budget for an economic development authority proposed by the Acadia Parish Economic Inducement Board.
Under the proposal, each parish municipality would contribute two-tenths of its annual budget, as well as contributions from the Acadia Parish School Board and Sheriff’s Department.
Juror John Quebodeaux suggested it “was the parish’s responsibility to take the lead and dedicate some money.”
He noted the Jury doubled its economic development account in this year’s budget.
Kayla Link, CEO of the Crowley Chamber of Commerce, reported Rayne, Church Point and Crowley have already indicated their participation. She also noted the sheriff and school board members are inclined to add their support.
Under the two-tenths provision, the Police Jury’s share would be $48,000. Link mentioned the initial, annual operating budget was $275,000, but that it could be reduced to $130,000.
She told jurors, “We’re looking for your intent to participate, suggesting it was time for the parish’s governing entities to approve a memorandum of understanding.
Jury President A.J. Credeur said, “The primary obligation for economic development lies with the Police Jury.”
Though Juror Felton “Tony” Moreau mentioned the Jury could establish its own economic development program, he eventually seconded Quebodeaux’s motion to recommend to the full Jury next Tuesday that it contribute $50,000.
In other action by the Industrial Development committee, a request from Canal BioFuels Company to participate in the Enterprise Zoning Program was tabled due to the lack of detailed information.
Jurors agreed to Juror Alton Stevenson’s recommendation to officially ratify Michael “PeeWee” Schexnider’s appointment as parish road manager.
The Mosquito Control Committee recommended a one-year contract extension with Mosquito Control Contractors, Inc. Last year, the Jury spent a total of $517,587.83 .
Committee members recommended the Jury implement provisions of a state statute permitting the parish to secure reimbursement from inmates at the Parish Jail for medical and dental care.
Jurors agreed to accept the donation of street right-of-way land by the owners of the Oakwood Subdivision near Rayne.
Jurors directed Road Manager Schexnider to secure three quotations to make repairs to bridges on Muskrat Road and Ellis Road. Schexnider reported he has obtained estimates of $70,000 for Muskrat Road and $90,000 for Ellis Road.
Though Schexnider reported a low bid of $43,133.61 to construct a lean-to building to shelter overlay equipment, jurors expressed a need for a concrete floor and doors and directed the road manager to solicit new cost quotations.
Jurors also tabled the issue of constructing sidewalks on the south lawn of the Courthouse until cost estimates were obtained. In addition, they wanted to learn what, if any, permits were required from the Department of Transportation and Development.
The Grounds and Building Committee also recommended approval of a $12,000 engineering contract with D. Hicks Consulting, Inc., to connect a 500 KW generator to serve the Courthouse in the event of a power outage. They also recommended the Jury demolish a unused brick structure next to the Courthouse, which once housed electrical transformers, in order to provide space for the large generator.
The Finance Committee received proposals for auditing and legal services.
In other committee action, it was recommended the secretary-treasurer advertise for a trash compactor at the parish landfill.