Posted: September 29, 2017

Minutes for Planning and Zoning Commission Meeting on Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Town of Madisonville

403 St. Francis St.

Planning and Zoning Commission Meeting

September 5, 2017




The meeting was called to order by Roland Morris.


On roll call the following were present:  Roland Morris, Myron Bourg, Jerry Lange, Harriet Stafford and Sandra Mendow.


Mr. Morris opened for discussion the following agenda item.  Mr. Morris pointed out that the only agenda item is a request by Mr. Warren Davie and was informative only. He also stated that a vote on the item could not be taken as a Public Hearing on the request was scheduled for 7pm on Tuesday, October 3, 2017 in Town Council Chambers.


Agenda Item No. 1
A request to rezone portions of property from W-Wetlands to Cl-Community Business District, M-Marina District, and A-Residential District. Petitioner: Warren Davie


Mr. Davie was present and was given the floor.  Mr. Davie stated that he is adding on to a building at the end of Lake Road and that he expects to use the house as his residence.  He said that his plan for an RV park, Marina and residential area includes access to the Lighthouse, saving marsh land, building a sand barrier and improving Lake Road. He said that all these improvements will be great for the Town. 


Mr. Bourg asked if Mr. Davie brought proof of ownership which Mr. Davie presented to be included with the minutes. 


Mr. Davie continued by saying he has been communicating with Mr. Kevin Davis and that BP funds may be available to make some of the improvements to protect the Town from flood waters.  Mr. Davie then asked Ms. Barbara Zelenka of J.V. Burke & Associates to speak about the project.  Ms. Zelenka stated that although the property is zoned as wetlands that it may not be considered wetlands by the Corps of Engineers (Corps) since it most likely does not have the appropriate vegetation to be considered wetlands and that it is more marsh lands.  She continued by stating that local entities have been contacted about participating in the project including Mayor Pelloat regarding the Town taking over Lake Road. 


Mayor Pelloat was present and stated that he told LA DOTD that he was not interested unless Lake Road was raised at least two to three feet and that it included a bike path. 


Ms. Zelenka then stated that the project includes finding funds to raise Lake Road, providing access to the Lighthouse and building a two way bridge where there is only one lane at this time.  She continued by saying that Mr. Johnny Bordelon and Mr. Kevin Davis were more involved in Lake Road improvements and that they were unable to be at the meeting.  However, their plan includes a bike path through Town, green space, and shoulders on Lake Road for bikers and runners, including a 10 foot bike path to tie into the St. Tammany Trailhead by the existing Target on Highway 21. 


Mr. Morris asked about the length and height of the bulkhead.  Mr. Davie responded that the plan calls for a 5 foot elevation, tampered to a beach and then into the marsh area.  When asked about fill dirt, Mr. Davie stated that he would work with the Corps to dredge the Tchefuncte and use the spoils to fill in the necessary marsh land.


Mr. Lange asked Mr. Davie if he has spoken with the Corps and Ms. Mendow asked if he had permission from the Corps.  Mr. Davie said he did have permission for coastal use as most of the land is not truly wetlands as defined by vegetation.  He continued by saying that he would reclaim land from 1924 and there is a process to accomplish this. 


Ms. Zelenka asked if the process was first to rezone the property and then do the planning.  Mr. Bourg stated that approval for rezoning was dependent on the plans.


Mr. Davie added that a Class A permit was necessary to reclaim property.


Ms. Stafford stated that the imagery line between the state and Mr. Davie’s property does not show a public access via a public road.  Ms. Zelenka and Mr. Davie stated that there would be access once a beach is created and the land is filled in.


Mr. Morris asked if the road to the Lighthouse is Mr. Davie’s property.  He responded yes.


Mr. Bourg asked Mayor Pelloat if the Town’s fill ordinance had been passed and Mayor Pelloat stated that it had been passed. Ms. Zelenka stated that the land would be filled to 5 feet and would be filling what is now water.  Mr. Davie stated that the fill would protect flood waters.


Ms. Stafford stated it appears that the bulkhead would be the primary protection and that the access to the beach would result in a slope from the beach to the top of the bulkhead.  Ms. Zelenka agreed and stated that a living retainage wall could help in creating a barrier from flood waters. Mr. Davie stated that sand still stays in place like Pontchartrain Beach would show.


Mr. Pelloat stated that he felt there is a need to set the record straight in regards to conversations he has had with the LA DOTD.  He stated that negotiations on the transfer of Lake Road to the Town have been going on for a year; however, Lake Road and a bike path would be required before the Town would be interested in taking over the road.  He continued by saying that the DOTD has only spoken about overlaying the road.  He said he came only to listen but given statements made he felt he needed to clear up the status of the negotiations. He feels the negotiations have been very mild as DOTD has indicated that the overlay would start from the four way stop at Hwy 22 and Main Street.

Ms. Stafford and Ms. Mendow both stated that where the raising of Lake Road would start is not known and that this would need to be negotiated.  Mayor Pelloat stated that he has not heard from DOTD in a while.  Ms. Zelenka stated that her understanding is that the State is now attempting to get involved.  Mayor Pelloat responded that there a number of projects throughout the State and that there is no guarantee that funds will be available for Lake Road. 


Ms. Stafford stated that the project will require substantial engineering.


Mr. Davie stated that that the existing Lake Road condition does not allow for access to and past T-Rivers when the lake and river rise and that recently the Madisonville Police wrote a lot of tickets at T-Rivers because of lack of parking space and inability to pass T-Rivers to go to the end of Lake Road.  He continued by saying that a resolution for Lake Road must be provided.   


Mr. Morris stated that the plans show the bulkhead going to the Lighthouse but not on the Lighthouse. Ms. Zelenka and Mr. Davie discussed the plans for the bulkhead.  Mr. Davie also stated that the Department of Natural Resources may issue a permit to the Maritime Museum for a walkway to the Lighthouse.


Ms. Zelenka asked if a C-1 zoning is proper for the project.  Mr. Morris and Mr. Bourg stated C-1 is correct.  Mr. Bourg asked and received clarification about where the residential lots will be in connection with the existing Town boat lauch.


Mr. Morris stated he assumed the marina would be open and would be dugout. Morris asked if any of this would raise the water level in the Town.  Mr. Bourg stated that he believed any additional openings would impact the Town. He also stated that filling in land could result in water going into Town. Ms. Stafford said the project would result in more paving and that the Commission would have to be very cautious.  Ms. Mendow agreed with those concerns. 


Mr. Davie stated that flooding concern could be helped by improving the bulkhead, adding jetties and adding culverts to let water flow to the river. 


Mr. Bourg, Ms. Mendow and Ms. Stafford all expressed concern over flooding.  Mayor Pelloat stated that the project would have to demonstrate protection for the Town and studies are needed.  Mr. Bourg concurred that more studies and answers are needed before the Commission could vote on a recommendation. He also stated that traffic may be an issue and that a traffic study is needed.  Mr. Lange also stated that traffic is a big issue.  Mr. Bourg stated that the good that the new traffic light has done may be overcome by this project and additional resultant traffic.


Mayor Pelloat stated he is concerned with any change requested and that he would not support any rezoning unless the project is right for the Town.  He stated that a more detail plan is needed.


Ms. Zelenka asked if the concerns expressed could be addressed in the planning phase and the property still All the Commission stated that in the past there have been projects where zoning changes were approved and then the project was changed from the original plans so the Commission would like to understand and feel confident about plans before approving zoning changes.  Mr. Bourg suggested getting Engineers involved with providing more support


Councilman Chris Hitzman was present and asked how many RV spots there would be and if what shows on the plans is part of a bigger picture.  Mr. Davie stated that the plan is conceptual and that the plan is to have RV pads with complementary things such as gazebos attached to the RV pads.


Mr. Hitzman then asked about the residential plans.  Ms. Zelenka stated that the original Pleasure Beach recording showed 11 residential lots and included another three lots in C-1 zoning.  Discussion took place about the location and number of residential lots. 


Discussions continued around the same issues.  Ms. Zelenka asked what the Commission required more information about.  The consensus was drainage, traffic, bulkhead elevation and flooding concerns due to storm surge.  Mr. Bourg stated that it would be helpful to have levees and gates to protect the Town. Mr. Bourg also asked about whether the marina would be dry storage with lifts or ramps.  Mr. Davie stated there were two options; have partners for the marina or a regular marina owned by him; however, no dry storage as he does not see that being the right thing to do.


Mr. Davie stated there was another proposal that includes a 7 foot peninsula and/or jetty to protect the Lighthouse and other Town property.  Ms. Zelenka stated that the project includes public and private partnerships.  Mr. Davie asked at what point a jetty would be desired.  Mr. Bourg suggested a rock jetty and dock around the Lighthouse with a walking bridge to the Lighthouse. 


There being no other business, Mr. Bourg made a motion to adjourn, Mr. Lange seconded, motion passed as all were in favor.


Wayne C. Morlier, Town Clerk