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Planned gravel pit leaves residents between a rock and a hard place

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Posted: Jul 22, 2014 10:51 PM by Brittany Weiss
Updated: Jul 22, 2014 10:51 PM
Source: WBRZ

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Topics: Gravel Pit, Watson, Livingston, Oak Hills, construction, Southern Aggregate, Brittany Weiss, Jim Norred

WATSON - People who live in Oak Hills subdivision said Tuesday, they were blindsided by news that a gravel pit is planned behind their neighborhood in Livingston Parish.

The gravel mine could be behind houses along Highway 16 in Watson, if the permit is approved. It would be feet from backyards and 250 homes.

Southern Aggregates, L.L.C. has submitted a permit application to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality to build the pit. The proposed site would be about 238 acres and will have offices, truck scales, road access, borrow areas and a plant.

People are worried about the mess, the noise and the health risks.

"Pretty upset," said Oak Hills resident Don Clement. "I feel that we are sort of being hoodwinked here that this happened undercover. We didn't know anything about it, we didn't receive the proper notification."

Oak Hills residents started a petition against the gravel pit and have collected about 350 signatures.

"The noise, the vibration, the dust, that's not a natural occurrence," said Connie Bowen as she collected signatures for the petition Tuesday afternoon. "That's not a market condition, it's a commercial endeavor and it doesn't have to be."

This also hit home for Parish Councilman Jim Norred who lives in the subdivision and believes there is no need for this gravel pit in this location.

He asked, "Why did they pick this one spot? It's going to butt right up against our subdivision, right up against our homes."

Norred added, he is worried because Livingston does not have zoning restrictions.

"There aren't a whole lot of ordinances that justify anything other than the safety," he said. "There's not a whole lot we can do."

Norred is considering a resolution to oppose the plans.

A discussion about the proposed permit has been added to the council's Thursday agenda. There is also a meeting at Live Oak High School set for 6 p.m. Friday with Southern Aggregates, L.L.C.

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