Rezone Request graphic

WELSH – A public hearing over a rezoning request for a proposed health clinic was cancelled Tuesday after a local couple verbally withdrew plans to rezone a block of Polk Street from mixed residential to business to allow for the clinic.

Property owners Monica and Noah Zeno verbally withdrew their rezoning request last month, but Mayor Carolyn Louviere said the town will need a written notice from the couple that they have declined the request.

"When I get the written notice we will remove it (item from the agenda)," Louviere said.

A public hearing last month was tabled after Louviere said the town did not properly post a notice of the hearing and to allow aldermen time to receive additional information on the plans for the clinic.

During that meeting, the couple verbally told the council they did not plan to pursue the matter further after repeated delays in getting the property to allow for the sale of their property. Bayou Comprehensive Health Center had planned to buy the property to locate a health clinic.

"We have been waiting," Monica Zeno told the council before abruptly leaving the meeting last month. "We were approached regarding it. We did not go out looking. It is sad that the town is the one that is going to suffer. We are ready to move on with our house plans. We have waited long enough."

In August, Monica Zeno told the Welsh zoning board that a federally qualified health clinic was interested in purchasing the property to locate a clinic. The clinic would have benefited the town by providing jobs and health care for those who cannot afford it elsewhere, she said.

Zeno said Bayou Comprehensive Health Center, doing business as Southwest Louisiana Health Clinic, wanted to put a location in Welsh. The company already has locations in Lake Charles, Oberlin and Crowley.

It provides women's health care, dental service, psychiatric care and other health services for low income adults and children who cannot afford the services. Services would be based on income.

The company initially sought to rezone a former medical clinic at 308 Palmer Street from residential to business for the clinic in July, but withdrew their plans after residents strongly opposed the plans. Those residents said they feared the clinic would attract those with addictions, illegal immigrants and homeless people. Others also voiced concerns for a decease in property value because of the clinic.

The property is located next to St. Joseph Catholic Church. It is the former location of the old Boys Scouts Hut which was torn down and sold to the Zeno family several years ago.

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