Documenter name: Natalie McLendon

Agency holding meeting: Calcasieu Parish Planning and Zoning Board

Date: Tuesday, December 13, 2022 at 5:30 PM

Summary

The Planning and Zoning Board granted variances and exceptions, and elected chairs for 2023.

The Scene 

This meeting took place at 1015 Pithon Street in the Calcasieu Parish Government Building, on the first floor in the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury meeting room. There were 15-20 members of the public in attendance. When I arrived, there were multiple people filling out requests for public comment. The meeting began at 5:31 PM. Roll was called and all members of the board were present. Board President Kirk Smith went over policies and rules of procedure and stated that meetings are recorded by the Calcasieu Parish government channel and are available to view on Wednesdays and Thursdays following the meeting. The Parish also live streams the meetings on Facebook.

Goals 

This Board provides recommendations on planning and zoning to the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury.

Policies

The meeting minutes from the last meeting were approved.

Variances + other property issues

  1. 1023 Hungerford Road in Ward Eight – Variance to allow two dwellings with less than required public road frontage and lot square footage. The applicant had a house on the property that was considered a total loss after Hurricane Laura. The owner would like the mobile home to serve as a residence for their son. The applicant is present but did not add any comment. The variance granted.
  2. 4411 Opelousas Street in Ward Three – Variance to allow three dwellings with less than required public road frontage and lot square footage. Applicant Eddie Edwards is the applicant. This property is in Lake Charles. The applicant would like to place a third mobile home on the property to take care of one of their sons. Mrs. Edwards was present but did not add comment. Variance granted.

Exceptions

  1. 431 Riddle Lane in Ward Four – An exception to allow a second dwelling with less than required public road frontage. The applicant is DavLin Rentals, LLC. This property is in Westlake and designated as a single family residence in 2018. The applicant has previously requested this exception in 2021 and had been denied. Property owner Linda Whelchel says she came in last year and did not know what to expect. She was trying to give a trailer away and the trailer was stolen off of the property. Ms. Whelchel tried to get with a realtor to see if she could sell the property. The applicant says that no one would build a home on the property and the realtor had 30-40 calls for a mobile home. The applicant bought the neighborhood and wants to get out of the business. Nobody is going to build a home back there, Whelchel reiterated. The neighborhood has been in poor condition since the hurricane.

Amber Ranking, realtor with Latter & Blum, says she did list the property and the majority of the people who called were for mobile homes. One potential buyer could not get financing. They wanted to build a barndominium, but had restrictions on how big it could be. Ranking pulled the recent history on houses sold on Riddle Lane and believed it would not increase or decrease the value of the neighborhood. There are already two mobile homes on the property. Most of the homes on Riddle Street are still damaged from the hurricane. Ranking says there is still hurricane debris in the road and in the ditches. 

Paul Mathis lives at 429 Riddle Lane. Mathis contested the installation of a  mobile home on this property. Mathis says when they moved the trailer out, they crushed the culverts and now there is a flooding problem at the end of the street. Gravity drainage came out to look at it and sent Mathis to the parish. The parish came out and said it was damaged beyond repair. The parish, according to Mathis, stated that it was the responsibility of the property owner to take care of the issue. Mathis says there are damaged homes on the street, but their street cannot take a lot of traffic. Mathis says if it is approved, that the property owner please put up a privacy fence between his property and theirs.

Commissioner Williams says he doesn’t think anyone is going to build a home on that street.

Ms. Whelcher returned to the podium and said that someone else moved the trailer across the street to another property and she has police documentation that this event occurred. Whelcher says that if Mathis wants a privacy fence on her side, why doesn’t he want a privacy fence on the other side of “his little world.” Chairman Smith asked about the culverts. Whelcher says she has never heard of the issue with the culverts and that the parish never contacted her about it. She knows there was a hole in one of them and she put some cement in it. Whelcher says she cuts the grass there once per week.

Commissioner Porche states that the Planning and Zoning Department requested this to maintain the residential character of the area in 2018. Porche thinks that when this request passed in 2018, there is a vision for that area is well beyond five years to maintain the single family character of the area and that’s how Porche saw it that year. It is not just a question of this one property, it is maintaining the character of a single family dwelling area. Porche doesn’t remember how he voted on the issue in 2021. 

Commissioner Galicia says when you buy a property with a mobile home on it, you assume that you can put it back. 

All board members except for Porche voted in favor of the exception. The motion passed.

  1. 2525 Toomey Road in Ward Seven An exception to allow a five year extension of an existing borrow pit. The exception was granted.
  1. 5600 Block of Highway 3059 in Ward Eight – An exception to allow a 12 acre borrow pit. This property is in Lebleu Settlement. Because minimal impacts are to be expected, the planning department recommends that the exception be granted. The motion to grant the exception passed.
  1. 700 Block of Bozo Road in Ward One – An exception to allow residential development (recreational vehicle). Applicant is James Graves, Jr. Chairman Smith moved to defer this item for 30 days. The motion carried.

Action Items

  1. Election of Officers
    1. Kirk Smith was nominated for 2023 Chair and was unanimously elected.
    2. Julia Dickerson was nominated for 2023 Vice Chair and was unanimously elected.
  1. Certification of Planning Commissioner Training – Planning Commissioners Julia Dickerson and Sharon Galicia completed a training workshop in October.

Outcomes

The board advised that the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury followed the recommendation of the Planning and Zoning Board with their adoption of the Solar Energy Facilities Ordinance on December 1, 2022. 

The next Calcasieu Parish Planning and Zoning Board meeting will be held Tuesday, January 17, 2023.

Links

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