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Work continues in Zachary floodway despite cease and desist notice

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ZACHARY - Heavy machinery continued moving timber in a section of floodway in Zachary Monday. The work comes two months after the city issued a cease and desist letter to the owner and developer of the property.

Concerned neighbors gathered to discuss their frustration with what was going on as they worry the work will cause their homes to flood during the next heavy rain event.

"The floodway is the only escape for the water that comes through our area," resident Rodney Wilkinson said. "He's damming it up, and there is no floodway."

When the City of Zachary caught wind that work was going on in the area that's listed as a floodway, it sent a cease and desist letter. Attorneys representing the city say work should have stopped immediately until an analysis could be completed.

"There's a levee now effectively between me and the only way my property can drain," Mary Sanders said. "How is that not going to flood my house? What assurances have we been given that this will not alter the way water flows through the subdivision?"

The City of Zachary said no permits have been pulled by the developer for the work that's been going on. The mayor and city attorney said there would be no further comments since the city is currently locked in litigation with the owner of that property.

"If we're going to have rules, we should all follow the rules," Sanders said. "If I have to get a permit to build a set of stairs, then obviously he should have a permit to clear 100 something acres."

Attorney Dennis Pennington is representing the developer. Pennington told WBRZ his client has four permits from the Department of Environmental Quality. We checked with DEQ. A spokeswoman said the agency is looking into it, but no permits were found in their system matching any of the names tied to that property.

Pennington explained that the work taking place is just the developer simply trying to plant new trees on the property. Pennington said the US Army Corps of Engineers is scheduled to conduct a site visit next week on Oct. 23.


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