Dirt pit proposed for Wallace

Published 3:00 am Saturday, November 26, 2022

LAPLACE — A dirt pit to be used for the excavation of approximately 8,665,757 of clay has been proposed for the area near Highway 3213 and Whitney Plantation Road in the Formosa Subdivision in Wallace.

A resolution authorizing St. John the Baptist Parish to grant a permit for D. Hayes Enterprises LLC for a dirt pit was removed from the most recent Parish Council agenda.

The proposed project involves the excavation of approximately 214.5 acres of a clay borrow pit area as well as the construction of levees, traffic control gates, existing roadways and stockpiles within the site to facilitate the removal of the material. Roughly 14,257.36 cubic yards of crushed stone/gravel will be used to improve existing roads.

The clay pit sublease agreement, effective as of October 3, 2022, is between property owner Greenfield Louisiana LLC and sublessee D Hayes Enterprise LLC, represented by Ricky Davis.

According to the agreement, D Hayes Enterprise is solely responsible for costs associated with excavating, processing, weighing and hauling the clay. Greenfield would receive $2 per ton of clay excavated from the site. All preparation and construction work must meet the terms and conditions of local laws and permits granted by government authorities such as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Local nonprofit The Descendants Project submitted a public records request relating to the item prior to its removal.

Descendants Project co-founder Joy Banner held a press conference in front of the St. John Parish Government building in advance of Tuesday’s Parish Council meeting. Though the item was removed from Tuesday’s agenda, Banner said the potential for a dirt pit is of great concern to West Bank residents.

“This is somewhere in the vicinity of up to almost 15 million tons of dirt being displaced from the West Bank to build the levee on the East Bank,” Banner said. “We don’t have flooding problems on the West Bank, but our drainage is being compromised. We have not been informed. We have not had any meetings or reassurances.”

Potential borrow pits for the West Shore Levee Project have been met with opposition on the East Bank, notably from residents of the River Forest subdivision who spoke out against an Elvina Plantation rezoning. The rezoning, which would have allowed the land to be used for excavation of clay materials, was voted down by the Parish Council.

The next St. John Parish Council meeting will take place on December 13 in LaPlace. The agenda for the meeting has not yet been released.