Dirt pit can continue operations despite residents’ concerns

{{tncms-inline alignment="left" content="<p class="p1"><strong>‘I moved from Hathaway 13 years ago to get away from the dirt and I’m back in it.’</strong></p> <p class="p3"><strong>Shawn Stoleson</strong></p> <p class="p4">Concerned resident</p>" id="54788e2c-5391-4ef7-b376-5b44cb31f8ed" style-type="quote" title="Pull Quote" type="relcontent"}}

<p class="p1">JENNINGS — Jeff Davis Parish police jurors voted Wednesday to rezone a site off La. 102, just north of Jennings, to allow a dirt pit to continue to operate despite concerns from nearby residents.

<p class="p1">In a unanimous vote, with Police Juror Wayne Fruge abstaining and Police Jurors Bill Wild and Melvin Adams absent, police jurors approved a request from Mark and Annette Gary to rezone the property from agriculture to heavy industrial with several conditions.

<p class="p1">Among the conditions, the Garys agreed to immediately reroute truck traffic, not operate on Sundays and enforce a 5 mph speed limit on trucks. Within 30 days, the Garys also agreed to install an electric pump to reduce noise, add a sprinkler system to the road and pit area to control dust, install a fence on the north side of the property and change the direction of a discharge line to prevent erosion of nearby property.

<p class="p1">Residents living near the dirt pit voiced concerns for dust, mud on the highway, noise and constant truck traffic during a public hearing held prior to the vote.

<p class="p1">“I can’t enjoy the backyard that I spent a lot of money on because of the dirt and dust and dump trucks running six to seven days a week,” resident Shawn Stoleson said. “I moved from Hathaway 13 years ago to get away from the dirt and I’m back in it.”

<p class="p1">Stoleson, whose property connects to the dirt pit, said he had to change his swimming pool’s pump four times last year because of the dust. He also complained of dirt on the highway.

<p class="p1">Resident Lance Lessard said the dirt pit is located directly behind his house.

<p class="p1">“I didn’t buy the property with a dirt pit there,” Lessard said. “I don’t like it.”

<p class="p1">Lessard said his children cannot enjoy the yard and they cannot enjoy barbecues because dust is always in the air and trucks are going in and out all the time. He also complained of loud noise from the gas pump.

<p class="p1">Lessard asked that the dirt pit not be allowed to operate on weekends so that residents can enjoy the outdoors without the dust.

<p class="p1">Kristen Emerson complained about the pump eroding her property and running all night. She said everything she owns is also covered in dirt and the family cannot sit outside without getting covered in dirt.

<p class="p1">Two other residents, Randy Davis and Benjamin Roy, said they were in favor of the Garys continuing to operate the dirt pit.

<p class="p1">Gary questioned the complaints of the residents saying he has been digging in the area 10-11 years and has never received a complaint. He said if residents had told him about the dust problem or pump noise, he would have addressed it.

<p class="p1">While the Garys have been operating the dirt pit for a number of years, Police Jury legal adviser David Bruchhaus said the rezoning was needed because the parish had received complaints about its operation. He also said the Garys did not properly apply for rezoning when they began operating the pit.

<p class="p1"><strong>‘I moved from Hathaway 13 years ago to get away from the dirt and I’m back in it.’</strong>

<p class="p3"><strong>Shawn Stoleson</strong>

<p class="p4">Concerned resident

      a11b030e-a098-11e8-bb75-7bbf60e302c92018-08-15T18:00:00Zprien,prien lake,rosenheim,martin vires,general contractor,keiland construction llc,department manager of capital projects,lake charles,calcasieu parish police jury,facility management department,charles ladner and associatesnews/local,newsPrien Park upgrades ahead of scheduleJohn GuidrozCalcasieu Parish Government and Cameron Parish Reporterhttps://www.americanpress.com/content/tncms/avatars/7/a3/7a4/7a37a4a0-3a63-11e7-927b-9ba95362f7b9.0fc7b7e12d3b2e55cd1cef3a44ac29dd.png<p class="p1">Crews working to extend and renovate the boat launch at Prien Lake Park are ahead of the nearly year-long schedule, officials with the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury’s Facility Management Department said Tuesday.</p><p class="p3">Martin Vires, department manager of capital projects, said the launch is being extended to accommodate longer boats and trailers. The drive is also being extended to make launching and retrieving boats safer. </p><p class="p3">Keiland Construction LLC, the Lake Charles-based general contractor, began the work Feb. 28, he said.</p><p class="p3">Over the years, paving at the launch became “compromised” because different boats were using it, Vires said. Because the ramp was too short and its slope was too great, wreckers at times had to retrieve boats, trailers and the towing vehicle from the water, he said.</p><p class="p3">Crews will also install a floating central dock that will replace the fixed dock. The weather-deteriorated wharf and decking will also be repaired.</p><p class="p3">The center pier, used to dock smaller boats, was too “high above the water” at low tides, which made it difficult to exit the boats, Vires said. Those boats also “tended to get under the pier,” causing another hazard, he said.  </p><p class="p3">The improvements also include paving and striping the north and south parking lots. Vires said the unmarked gravel parking areas were too small to house the trailers and vehicles. Park patrons were also parking in spots designated for boat trailers on weekends.</p><p class="p3">Keiland Construction’s accepted bid of $2.05 million was below the initial project estimate of $2.27 million, Vires said. Charles Ladner and Associates worked on design plans for the project.</p><p class="p3">Until the project is done, boaters should use the launches at Calcasieu Point, the north side of Interstate 210 at Israel LaFleur Park and the I-10 bridge.</p>””Prien Lake Park – Ship to Shore Kayak Demo DaysKirk Meche

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