No speedy answer for new home businesses
Council fears “opening floodgates” could cause unsightly neighborhood eyesores
The main topic for the St. Charles Parish Council meeting at the courthouse on Monday was a proposal by Parish President Albert Laque's administration to amend the approval process and operational regulations for home occupations.
The parish has been inundated with requests for home occupation permits since Hurricane Katrina and the time to receive permits has taken as long as eight weeks.
During the last council meeting, changes were sought to streamline the process, including allowing the Planning and Zoning Director to decide which applications came before the full council.
Parish resident and former police juror Clayton Faucheux spoke out against the change.
Faucheux relayed to the council, "If you pass this like it is right now, you are giving unelected people the ability to change what they want to change or not change what they don't want changed."
Luling resident Carolyn Tregre also addressed the council about the proposed changes. Tregre took particular exception to the portion of the regulation that would be changed to allow more than one company vehicle to be parked at residences.
"I think this opens the floodgates for all residential areas to become parking lots for dump trucks, tractor trailer, et cetera," said Tregre.
Councilwoman April Black reiterated that the changes were not removing the public from the home business permitting process.
"They still have public hearings, they still get the sign in the yard when somebody applies for home occupation, they still have to come in front of the council. The Planning and Zoning Commission meetings were lasting hours and hours on end. I felt like their load needed to be lightened," said Black.
After council discussion Black said she would be willing to amend the proposal to put the commission back into the equation.
In other council news, a contract with Frickey Brothers was approved to provide 2,000 linear feet of sidewalk along River Road in Ama. Frickey Brothers came in with the lowest bid of $114,788 of which the parish has secured $106,000 in grants. Once the project is started, it is expected to be complete in 120 days.
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