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Prairieville resident could face parish lawsuit over fence position

1 year 2 months 4 weeks ago Friday, March 24 2023 Mar 24, 2023 March 24, 2023 7:28 PM March 24, 2023 in News
Source: WBRZ

PRAIRIEVILLE - A civil matter has escalated to a potential lawsuit involving the Ascension Parish government and a Prairieville resident.

It's all over a fence, and the owner of the fence, Nick Ehrhard, says he only wants to be treated fairly. Instead, he says he feels isolated.

"I'm feeling kind of isolated by, really, our parish," Ehrhard said.

Earlier this year, Ehrhard built a fence at the back of his property.

"We decided to build a fence early January due to some issues we were having with a neighbor," he said.

They got a permit, and the fence went up. But soon after that, the parish said the permit isn't valid because it's missing a signature.

"It's confusing to me because they handed us a physical permit, basically said it's good to go," Ehrhard said.

Now, the parish wants the fence to be moved to comply with a new ordinance that says fences are prohibited within a drainage servitude. All the other fences that are "grandfathered" in can stay where they are.

The parish admitted to the permit error but maintains that the contractor should have known better. 

"They basically said, 'Oops, this is our mistake,'" Erhard said.

Parish attorney Jean-Paul Robert offered a compromise and says the parish will pay to move the fence to the servitude line, but only Ehrhard's. When asked if he'd accept the offer, Ehrhard tells 2 On Your Side that he wouldn't because it feels like his family is being singled out.

The parish said it sent a certified letter to Ehrhard with the offer requesting confirmation or denial, but he says he never received that document. The parish was asked for a copy of the certified letter on Thursday but said they couldn't supply the document until Monday.

Since the parish never received a response regarding its proposal, the next step is to file a lawsuit. It appeared as an agenda item on the March 16 Ascension Parish Council agenda before it was removed by council member Terri Casso. It could be put back on the agenda next month.

"I can tell you that I'm vehemently opposed to the parish government suing one of its residents over something that is a civil matter," Casso said.

In response to a potential lawsuit, Ehrhard says it doesn't make any sense and is a waste of taxpayer dollars.

"I'm perplexed as to why the parish wants to spend time and money, especially after the parish has already given us a permit and the fence has already been established, to basically single us out," Ehrhard said.

He thinks it's a shame it's come to this, and all because of a fence.

The parish says it understands the confusion about the permit and has added an extra step to application permits to avoid the same confusion in the future.

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