Liquor amendment enrages congregation
Catcalls fly at council meeting
|Photo taken by: Ann Taylor|
Standing on the edge of the chruch property line, Deacon James Smith shows the proximity of the new bar/restaurant under construction behind his church.
The failure upholds the local law that a business serving alcohol must be over 500 feet from the nearest church.
Several members of the Mount Airy Baptist Church, were at the council meeting to protest the amendment -- a move they said would allow the establishment of a bar/restaurant next to their church.
The bar/restaurant in question by Southpark Tavern LLC owned by Scott Sirmon would serve liquor and have poker machines and sits adjacent to Mount Airy on Hwy. 90. Pastor Raney Antoine said that facility is too close to his congregation. Members of the congregation packed the meeting and assailed Fabre, who introduced the measure.
Fabre's proposal would have changed the distance from 500 to 300 ft. in subdivided areas. Fabre said that measure is needed to comply with state regulations.
Fabre said Mt. Airy’s case is completely unrelated and that the rule change would not have affected the church, as they measure over 700 ft. from the proposed bar.
Before voting on the measure, the council was inundated with irate citizens: "Don't change the law. Don't make it possible, so you can have gambling facilities closer to our churches and our places of worship….500 ft., in my mind, is not far enough," said Marcita Duronslet in an impassioned plea to the council.
The coincidence of attempting to change the ordinance as Mt. Airy begins litigation stopping the opening of the liquor-selling establishment enraged congregation member James Smith, speculating that there was collusion.
According to Fabre, the proposal stems from an old lawsuit, Executive Club vs. St. Charles Parish, which the parish lost. In that case, there was dispute over distance.
In Mt Airy’s case, how the measurements are carried out is also at issue, as measurements are not always made in straight lines.
After removing the measure from consideration last meeting, Fabre attempted to remove it again, citing the absence of Parish Attorney Bobby Raymond to explain the legalities to the council and audience, as he felt there was grave misunderstanding. This was met with catcalls from the members of the Mount Airy. Church members had already met with Fabre and Raymond prior to the council meeting. The motion to remove it failed.
Seeing the great outpouring from citizens, "If its not broke, don't fix it. Just leave it like it is," said Councilman Dickie Duhe. Ramchandran echoed this sentinment.
After the ammended ordinance failed, the council chamber burst into cheers, with members from Mount Airy being called back into order from Fabre.
Council restricts temporary housing
On other news, the council continues to deal with housing issues brought up because of Katrina and Rita.
An ordinance to amend zoning laws to regulate emergency housing in the parish passed unanimously. The amendment restricts temporary housing for a federally declared disaster. Under the new ordinance, the sites cannot exist for more than 3 years and shall pay for the impact on local infrastructure.
Also on the agenda, the council unanimously passed an ordinance requiring increasing the distance of mobile homes and RV's in trailer parks from 15 ft. to 25 ft. Introduced by Council President Albert Laque, the measure was passed because of fire concerns in the parks, particularly post-Katrina where the sites have been pushed to capacity. 25 ft is the federal requirement.
Councilman Ramchandran introduced a measure increasing taxicab rates. Meter rates will increase from $1.10 to $2.50 for an eighth of a mile. A ride to New Orleans shall now cost $28.00 for one or two passengers. Fares to Kenner and the airport shall range from $13.25 to $16. The amendment passed 6-2, with Fabre and Black voting against.
Subscribe Today and Save!!!
St. Charles Herald-Guide is an award-winning newspaper that covers all aspects of St. Charles Parish - from schools and parish government news to social events, features on our local residents and sports.
Order your subscription today!
A bill that would allow teachers and school administrators with concealed carry...
A malnourished horse found wrapped up in rope in a desolate field has gotten a new...
A man who is believed to have attempted to kidnap a 17-year-old girl from a Boutte...
A Luling man was convicted of sexual battery on a juvenile and attempted aggravated...
Employees of Home Depot, along with members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post...
Nearly seven years after the 2007 murder of Hilda Mae Warren, family members are...
Visit The Basketry to find the perfect gifts for birthdays, holidays, weddings, anniversaries and children, or just come in and treat yourself. The Basketry offers free local hand delivery, and we're happy to ship your gifts to any location worldwide.
Man sought for attempted kidnapping in Boutte - 5776 views
A Reserve man is being sought in the attempted kidnapping of a 17-year-old girl at gunpoint in Boutte on Saturday.