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Council makes changes, paves way for gravel pit

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WATSON - The Livingston Parish Council voted for tougher rules and regulations for gravel pit companies planning to build.

For months, most of the Oak Hills subdivision off Highway 16 in Watson has been fighting against a gravel pit company building feet from their 230 home neighborhood.

A green pasture 125 feet from their neighborhood is slated to become a hole. The company, Southern Aggregates said that plot of land has gravel for mining.

"I am not going to be a happy homeowner," said Dough Bowen who lives in Oak Hills. "They should have said no to a gravel pit completely, next to a neighborhood."

Councilman Jim Norred, who also lives in the Oak Hills subdivision has been working closely on an ordinance to keep business in the parish and protect homeowners.

"I have to find what's best for the parish, I have to do a job as a parish councilman," he said. "I tried to set aside my feelings as a homeowner in Oak Hills, and it's been hard."

The council voted on a new ordinance that includes building a 12 foot berm around the area of the pit closest to the neighborhood. That wall will be designed to block the view and some of the noise. The gravel pit company will also have to change their operating times to 5 a.m. to 6 p.m. so they are not working overnight. Residents aren't convinced the wall or the time constraints will change a thing.

"We're going to keep fighting it, we don't want this," said Bowen.

Southern Aggregates says the company has been working closely with the council. They said the ordinance still allows industry and protects the residents of the parish.

"We're going to continue to go where the gravel goes," said Southern Aggregates representative Kevin Black. "We're going to continue to work within the parameters of the law, more than likely we're going to exceed those parameters."

Southern Aggregates says they are working with the Department of Environmental Quality and the Army Corps of Engineers to obtain a permit for their operation.

The council also started talks about buying a popular bayou restaurant and launch in Maurepas. The council has a grant and could use it to buy flood-prone property. Val's Marina is on their list. The restaurant floods and had to do major repairs after Hurricane Isaac two years ago.

Council members decided not to make a move on giving themselves a $400 a month raise. The measure was tabled indefinitelyWATSON - The Livingston Parish Council voted for tougher rules and regulations for gravel pit companies planning to build.

For months, most of the Oak Hills subdivision off Highway 16 in Watson has been fighting against a gravel company building feet from their 230 home neighborhood.
A green pasture, 125 feet from their neighborhood is slated to become a hole. The company, Southern Aggregates stated, "The plot of land has gravel for mining."

"I am not going to be a happy homeowner," said Dough Bowen who lives in Oak Hills. "They should have said no to a gravel pit completely, next to a neighborhood."

Councilman Jim Norred, who also lives in the Oak Hills subdivision, has been working closely on an ordinance to keep business in the parish and protect homeowners.
"I have to find what's best for the parish, I have to do a job as a parish councilman," he said. "I tried to set aside my feelings as a homeowner in Oak Hills, and it's been hard."

The council voted on a new ordinance that includes building a 12-foot berm around the area of the pit closest to the neighborhood. That wall will be designed to block the view and some of the noise. The gravel pit company will also have to change their operating times to 5 a.m. to 6 p.m. so they are not working overnight. Residents aren't convinced the wall or the time constraints will change a thing.

"We're going to keep fighting it, we don't want this," said Bowen.

Southern Aggregates says the company has been working closely with the council. They said the ordinance still allows industry and protects the residents of the parish.

"We're going to continue to go where the gravel goes," said Southern Aggregates representative Kevin Black. "We're going to continue to work within the parameters of the law, more than likely we're going to exceed those parameters."

Southern Aggregates says they are working with the Department of Environmental Quality and the Army Corps of Engineers to obtain a permit for their operation.
The council also started talks about buying a popular bayou restaurant and launch in Maurepas. The council has a grant and could use it to buy flood-prone property. Val's Marina is on their list. The restaurant floods and had to do major repairs after Hurricane Isaac two years ago.

Council members decided not to make a move on giving themselves a $400 a month raise. The measure was tabled indefinitely.

 

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