Amid accusations of bullying and extortion over a Des Allemands business’ rezoning request, the St. Charles Parish Council approved the move.
In a 7-to-1 vote, the council approved C-3 rezoning for William Sigmon’s Outcast Marine business and residence, as well as that for neighboring Millenium Fabrication at Monday’s council meeting.
Sigmon, owner of Outcast Marine, requested changing from C-2 with a special use permit to all C-3 on two lots at 16780 Hwy. 90 including residential and business use. Sigmon said he was seeking the change to eliminate the need for a special permit and further improve the business and grow, as well as address concerns about a “troublesome neighbor.”
“We’ve been spending more time lately with him (Alvin Meyer of Des Allemands) and Paul Hogan dealing with trying to shut me down than actually doing business,” Sigmon said. “As for Mr. Paul (Councilman Hogan), didn’t you say you intended to clean up Des Allemands? We’re trying to solve the problem.”
Sigmon’s wife, Jessica, said rezoning the lots would allow them to improve traffic access for a business they’ve operated 17 years. She also maintained a neighbor (identified as Meyer), told them he’d support the rezoning request if they bought his “three acres at $800,000.”
She said this neighbor told area residents the rezoning would allow them to build or fix airboats and to open a bar, which she called “fraudulent information.” The couple told the council they have no plan to do either.
Hogan said he was acting on constituents’ complaints about the business site. He also said the rezoning wasn’t needed to do what Sigmon intended with the property.
The council disagreed.
But Sigmon said he also sought rezoning to eliminate the need for a special use permit, which he was concerned could be revoked.
Planning Director Michael Albert told the council rezoning would allow expansion for more parking and improved road access.
Meyer, identifying himself as the man “they are aiming the arrows at,” did not comment on Jessica Sigmon’s accusations with the council, but maintained he wasn’t trying to shut them down.
Living on neighboring land, he expressed concern the rezoning could open land use to a multitude of undesired growth including bars, nightclubs and lounges, as well as the noise that would come with airboats.
Some neighbors expressed similar concerns to the council.
Councilman Billy Woodruff, who represents the area, called Outcast Marine one of the most successful businesses in the parish that draws customers from surrounding states.
Numerous neighbors also spoke in favor of the Sigmons and their business, urging the council to support rezoning in fear they could relocate the business to neighboring Lafourche Parish.
Keith Melancon of Bayou Gauche said Outcast Marine runs a quality business in the parish, and draws customers from throughout the South. He called Sigmon the best Yamaha mechanic in the area.
Danny Hebert of Hahnville said the couple was the subject of a “bully” who spread rumors about them and pointed to the man “as someone closely related to a councilman.”
Hebert also said the man attempted “extortion” by saying he’d favor rezoning if the couple bought his land.
Woodruff identified the man as Meyer and that he is related to Councilman Hogan.
Hebert did not name the bully, but said he harassed the Sigmans through the Louisiana State Police, Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development, and parish Planning and Zoning Department. He concluded, “Say ‘No’ to bullying.”
Albert said the Planning and Zoning Department found no violations with the Sigmons.