Parish planning long list of gravel pit regulations
WATSON - A gravel pit company may be required to obtain two permits if the Livingston Parish Council passes a slew of regulations next month.
Southern Aggregates, a gravel mining company, plans to dig a gravel pit behind the Oak Hills Subdivision off of Highway 16 in Watson. Homeowners are furious and think the plan will destroy their lifestyles, become a health hazard and drive their property values into the ground.
"I want to go back to New Orleans in a year," said Oak Hills Subdivision homeowner Don Clement. "What's going to happen to the equity of my house because someone chooses to operate this business next to me?"
Thursday, Councilman Jim Norred, who also lives in Oak Hills Subdivision, proposed three ordinances to regulate gravel mining pits in the parish.
Norred's regulations include a permit issued by the parish, a drainage impact and environmental study, specific time constraints for operations, an eight foot fence and a 500 ft. buffer zone between the nearest edge of excavation to the nearest property line.
Norred said the parish is growing and gravel pits are moving into more populated areas.
"I want to be able to breathe clean air," said Norred. "I don't want to have to worry about dust clouds blowing in all the time. This shouldn't be happening anywhere in the parish."
Southern Aggregates filed for a permit with the Army Corps of Engineers this summer.
"As a citizen who opens a business, I have to be permitted for everything," said Clement. "They don't."
Last month, Oak Hills Subdivisions held a question and answer session with Southern Aggregates. The company said then, the plot of land off Highway 16 is the spot it wants.
"We want to partner with them in still going ahead with our business," said Southern Aggregates Vice President Kevin Black. "And also trying to work with them so they feel comfortable and recognize over the fact that over a short period of time we're going to leave an environment that's going to be conducive to their neighborhood."
The ordinances are set for a public hearing on September 25.