Green light given to RV park
Moss Bluff convenience store also OK’d
Much of Thursday’s Calcasieu Parish Police Jury meeting was spent discussing two controversial land rezoning cases, including a request to rezone 40 acres in Carlyss to allow a 173-space RV park.
The panel voted 7-5 to rezone property at the 7500 block of La. 27 South from agricultural to RV park, despite opposition from several nearby residents. The move upheld a recommendation by the parish Planning and Zoning board on Tuesday.
Philip Guzzino, of Guzzino Land LLC, said the RV park would accommodate workers for the $15 billion Driftwood LNG terminal, located just south of Lake Charles. Officials with the Houston-based Tellurian said construction on the facility is slated for the first half of 2019. The park will be built in phases, with space for 91 units built during the first phase.
Guzzino told the panel that the RV park will be well-run, clean and have strict regulations. Russell Simmons, who lives near the proposed development, said his big worry is keeping his property safe and secure.
“We’re talking about transient workers that, as far as I know, there’s no type of background check,” he said. “We don’t know who is going to be in the area.”
Josh Herman said he doesn’t want the RV park to further impact area schools. Brent Hoffpauir said Moss Lake Village, the temporary worker village operated by First Flight Holdings, is “a nice development,” even though he initially opposed it.
The parish planning board approved a zoning exception for that development in 2014.
The worker village was set up to accommodate up to 2,500 construction workers, but Hoffpauir said it still has vacancies.
He said worker villages were designed to keep similar development away from neighborhoods. “We don’t need another RV park worker man camp next to us in Carlyss,” Hoffpauir said. “Stick to the word you gave people in Carlyss.”
Mimi Espinoza mentioned the flooding concerns at the property.
Wes Crain, parish planning director, said the land is in a “high velocity zone” and would have to meet FEMA and parish elevation requirements.
The parish also requires new development to drain in a way that doesn’t impact existing homes.
District 6 Police Juror Dennis Scott added a stipulation that the RV park be gated. He said the parish should revisit its ordinances on RV parks soon and set higher standards for them.
“I’m worried that in the future, we’re not being good stewards of this property and the people that are going to live around it,” Scott said. “Let’s make it a real facility and not just a temporary place that we can’t control in the future.”
Voting to rezone the land were Kevin White, Shalon Latour, Chris Landry, Tony Guillory, Kevin Guidry, Guy Brame and Brian Abshire. Scott, Shelly Mayo, Les Farnum, Calvin Collins and Francis Andrepont were opposed. Hal McMillin and Sandra Treme were not present at the meeting.
The panel later voted 9-2 to rezone property to allow for a convenience store in Moss Bluff, despite opposition from residents.
The move overturned a 6-4 vote Tuesday by the planning board that recommended the request be denied.
Gregory Fontenot requested one acre of land at 2665 North Perkins Ferry Road be rezoned from mixed residential to light commercial. The land was previously zoned light commercial before being rezoned to mixed residential in 1997.
Tom Gayle spoke on the applicant’s behalf, saying the convenience store fits into the standards outlined in the Moss Bluff Corridor Overlay District because it is “a gateway to the parish and serves as an example for future commercial growth.”
Several residents who live on North Perkins Ferry Road said a convenience store would add to the already difficult traffic conditions. Paula Hebert said the store isn’t necessary because similar businesses are just over two or three miles away.
Voting to rezone the property were Abshire, Andrepont, Brame, Farnum, Guidry, Guillory, Landry, Latour and Mayo. Collins and White were opposed. Scott abstained from voting.