Amelia residents fear bunkhouse is being created
An Amelia resident addressed the St. Mary Parish Council Wednesday on his fears that an apartment building next to his property on Lake Palourde Road has been turned into a labor camp.
Louis Abshire of 3476 Lake Palourde Road said he recently saw a truck load of mattresses being unloaded at the building that contains five apartment units.
“My wife and I — I’m 86 and she’s 82 — we don’t need this kind of disturbance around us,” Abshire said.
Chief Administrative Officer Henry “Bo” LaGrange said Planning and Zoning Director Tammy Luke has been informed of the situation and been told by the building’s owner that it is being used for residential purposes.
He added that according to the zoning law, bunkhouses are defined as residential units occupied by more than three workers and are only allowed in commercial and industrial zones after approval by the parish council.
The property in question is located in a mixed residential zone, Luke said this morning.
“We will continue to diligently monitor that situation to see if we can confirm or get the evidence that it is a bunkhouse so that we can enforce our regulations,” LaGrange told Abshire. “There a lot of checks and balances to protect neighborhoods and citizens like yourself from being impacted by someone from coming and putting a bunkhouse next door to you.”
He told Abshire to continue to report any activity that could serve as evidence of a bunkhouse to Luke.
“I can assure you that this is not going to be a residence,” Abshire said. He added that he has not seen any women or children at the building but does see men coming and going.
“For every day that they’re there it takes about a year out of my wife and I’s life,” Abshire said. He said they fear for their safety and are concerned about property values.
Councilman Sterling Fryou, District 8, asked LaGrange to “take all legal authority possible to check on this … to get the building inspected.”
In other discussion Wednesday the council:
—Heard from Jason Bailey of the Chamber of Commerce about its upcoming Leadership St. Mary program. Application deadline is Sept. 10 and the welcome reception is on Sept. 11. The program consists of an overnight retreat and seven one-day sessions per month, with the last session in April. For more information or to apply call the chamber office in Franklin at 828-5608 or in Morgan City at (985) 384-3830.
—Adopted an ordinance setting 25-mph speed limits on Joel Boulevard and JA-MAR Road and 15-mph on Victorine Drive in Amelia.
—Introduced an ordinance amending the current fiscal year budget.
—Passed resolutions endorsing participation in the Enterprise Zone Program by OCI, LLC; authorizing certificates of substantial completion on the roof work at the Morgan City Senior Center, and additions and alterations on the gatehouse at Kemper Williams Park; a change order on the Cajun Way Road project; a contract with Pavement Markings on the restriping of Duhon Boulevard; a contract with LA Contracting Enterprise, LLC on roadway and median crossovers along Duhon Boulevard; and a change order on the truck storage building for the fire substation at St. Joseph.
—Approved a request by Councilman David Hanagriff, District 3, for transfer of $2,000 from Wards 1, 2, 3, 4, 7 and 10 sales tax collections to the City of Franklin for the Dixie Youth League.