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Tower ordinance postponed again

By Leonard Gray / L’Observateur / April 20, 1998

VACHERIE – The St. James Parish Council once again Wednesday postponedaction on a proposed St. James Parish ordinance to regulate constructionof cellular communication towers.

From the audience, Gilroy and Brenda Huguet of Convent argued for additional protection from residents to halt construction of such towers if it can be shown residential damage is being done from the construction.

“We had no way to protect our property,” Brenda Huguet claimed.

Parish attorney Bruce Mohon said the couple could have asked for a temporary restraining order, pending a permanent injunction.

“By the time it would go to court, the damage would have been done,” she replied. “A policeman told me there was nothing I could do to legally stopthem.”Council chairman Timmy Roussel argued for more time to study the measure and take into consideration potential drainage and noise concerns.

The ordinance will again be discussed for possible action at the May 6 meeting.

In another matter, St. James Parish citizens were reminded of the May 2millage election.

The two propositions, Hymel said, are for renewal of the 5-mill road maintenance tax and the 5-mill courthouse, jail and building maintenance tax. Each are 10-year renewals.Roussel said the parish has $1 million anticipated revenues in the road maintenance budget and $1.4 million in the building maintenance budgetfor 1998.

In other activity, Parish Economic Development Director Edie Michel outlined plans for the St. James Parish Welcome Center at the corner ofU.S. Highway 61 and Louisiana Highway 641 near Gramercy.The facility will include a wetlands boardwalk, a pavilion with public meeting rooms and tourism information and it will also coordinate with the St. James Historical Society.Staffed by Economic Development personnel and volunteer assistance, the center will also be headquarters for the department. Dirt fill is beingprovided by American Iron Reduction on the 3.5-acre site donated byKaiser Aluminum.

Site preparation should be completed in the next two months, and Michel said she hopes to be operating by November.

“It’ll be a tremendous source of pride in our community,” Michel commented.

The Parish Council also approved a resolution supporting the town of Gramercy’s efforts to acquire the old Jr. Food Mart building.The building, located at the corner of Main Street and North Airline Street in downtown Gramercy, is owned by the state highway department, which acquired the property while buying up rights-of-way for Main Street improvements, said Parish Councilman Elwyn Bocz, who added the highway work will commence in July.

The building, however, is vacant and would normally either be torn down or left vacant and the town wants to relocate the Gramercy Police Department there. Bocz said a portion could also be used as a St. JamesSheriff’s Office substation.

Bocz said the town is asking the highway department to donate the building for that use and has also asked the help of Sen. Louis Lambert,Rep. Bobby Faucheux and Rep. Roy Quezaire.The week of April 18-25 was designated as Business and Industry Appreciation Week. The week starts with the annual Tri-Parish IndustryAppreciation Dinner tonight at Destrehan Plantation, starting with tours from 5 to 6 p.m. and dinner from 6 to 9:30 p.m., according to Destrehanadministrator Nancy Robert.

The Parish Council also approved a resolution of support for summer youth employment by local small businesses. Hymel said the St. James ParishSmall Business Appreciation Dinner is set April 23, 6 p.m., at theGramercy Boat Club. Guest speaker will be LSU economist Dr. Loren Scott.

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