Posted: March 10, 2018

Minutes - Public Committee Meeting Wednesday, February 28, 2018


Town of Madisonville

403 St. Francis St.

Public Committee Meeting

February 28, 2018


CALL TO ORDER – Mayor Jean Pelloat

ROLL CALL – Wayne Morlier – All Present (Councilman Bounds arrived at 7:25pm)

PLEDGE – Councilman Bouey


Committee Members:  Councilman Tim Bounds

                                     Councilman Chris Hitzman

1.                   Land and Water Grant – continuation of improvements at the Pine Street Park

Mayor Pelloat reported the Town will apply for a $100,000 grant to construct an Amphitheatre.  The grant must be submitted by April 1st and requires a 50% match by the Town.

2.                   Recreation Trails Grant - sidewalk

Mayor Pelloat reported that last year the Town applied for a grant for a sidewalk from Madison Ridge to Johnson Street; however, the application was denied.  The Town will reapply this year for the $100,000 grant which includes a 20% match that will be funded by in-kind work performed by Town public works employees. Mayor Pelloat stated that outlook for approval is positive.


Committee Members:   Councilman Chris Hitzman

                                      Councilman Brad Haddox

1.                2018 Budget

Mayor Pelloat reported that the Town will be working on the Fiscal Year 2018/2019 (FY2019) budget.  He invited Councilmen Haddox and Hitzman to participate in a couple of weeks.  He also stated that the list of requests by the Public Works Department will be considered and that wish lists have been requested from other departments.

2.                Capital Outlay Grant – Replace 3 sewage lift stations

Mayor Pelloat reported that the Town is applying for a capital outlay grant in the amount of $500,000 to replace three sewer lift stations.  The grant requires a 30% match of $150,000.  He also stated that last year the Town applied for this grant but the request did not make it to the Governor.  He pointed out that the FY2019 Budget will need to include the match and if not approved, the match amount included in the FY2019 budget could be used to replace one lift station. Councilman Hitzman asked when the Town may receive an answer.  Mayor Pelloat responded that the answer will not be received before the FY2019 Budget must be approved and most likely not until the summer.


Committee Members:         Councilman Brad Haddox

                                            Councilman Jim Bouey

1.                   Request to change Riverfront Commercial Ordinance.

Mayor Pelloat asked the Council for their thoughts on the request.  Councilmen Haddox, Hitzman and Doran spoke in favor of a change to increase the number of restaurants and/or bars from three to four.  This would allow Abita Roasting Company to operate as a restaurant.  Concerns were expressed regarding parking and outside music. There was interest in changing the Town noise ordinance time limits to reduce the impact of outside music. Councilman Bouey had no comment.  Mr. Kyle Ross and Mr. Brent Belsom, owners of Abita Roasting Company, stated they would not be increasing the footprint of the business but would be only changing the layout to allow for a full kitchen.  They also agreed with the prohibition of outside music after 10pm on Friday and Saturday. Mr. Myron Bourg, 404 St. Tammany Street, stated that he supports the change in the ordinance but would like strict enforcement of the noise ordinance.  Mr. Belsom said he agreed and would pay to have Madisonville Police on site for weddings and other special events. Councilmen Haddox and Doran stated the intent is to enforce the noise ordinance and that they would like to hear if it is not enforced. Next, Mr. Steven Marcus, President of the Madisonville Chamber of Commerce, expressed the Chamber’s support for the ordinance change. Discussion continued regarding the need to control outdoor music and enforcement of the noise ordinance.  Mayor Pelloat proposed that the noise ordinance be modified accordingly.  Mr. Louis Ogle addressed the Council regarding the status of the Town’s Master Plan and proposed that noise, drainage, parking and impacts on quality of life were bigger than just one business. Mr. Ogle further stated that opportunities to deal with the issues are slipping away. Mayor Pelloat stated that the Council and he are continuing to meet with planning organizations including the Regional Planning Commission. However, the Town is no closer to signing an agreement.  Councilman Haddox stated that the Master Plan could cost $60,000.  Next, Mr. Gordon Melloncamp spoke in favor of Abita Roasting Company as a unique restaurant, community gathering place, and that he is part of three groups that regularly meet there.  He suggested surveying the Town residents as families gather there on Friday nights.  Councilman Bouey stated that resident Mark Fisher was in favor of the ordinance change.  Councilman Hitzman recommended that the Town be more forward thinking regarding the parking issues by perhaps having employees park a few blocks away since they take up 15 to 20 parking places. Mr. Marcus suggested having a time limit on parking. Mayor Pelloat suggested that the Chamber could organize a meeting with the Council at a future Public Committee meeting. Councilman Haddox agreed. Discussion continued about the Chamber and Business community meeting with the Council.  Councilman Doran spoke about the parking issues caused by St. Anselm Church.  Mr. Marcus offered a solution for the Church to allow the use of its parking spaces. Mr. Bourg recommended all businesses in Town (not just Water Street) be included in any meeting with the Council.  Mr. Bruce Danner then spoke as a business owner on the corner of Pine and Mulberry (Hwy 22).  He spoke in favor of Abita Roasting Company stating that Mr. Bill Olendike (in the audience) and he meet with a Bible group at the location. He also stated no such favorable place to meet exists east, north or west of the Town. Councilman Hitzman asked for clarification of changing the noise ordinance times.  Mayor Pelloat stated that Ordinance No. 134 addresses outside amplified music and that ordinance would need to be changed to limit noise. Councilman Bounds suggested changing Ordinance No. 60 to four (4) restaurants and/or bars to allow Abita Roasting to operate as a restaurant since it is effectively doing so at this time. Mayor Pelloat stated that changes to Ordinances 60 and 134 would need to be introduced by a councilman at the March 2018 Regular Council meeting in order to move forward.  Councilman Haddox and Doran suggested that a Special Events Permit could be allowed if there was a reason to extend the noise limit time for any event. It was agreed that research of existing Special Events Permit ordinances would need to be conducted.     

2.                   Review ordinances in Town of Madisonville pertaining to square footage allowed in commercial and institutional building permits.

Mayor Pelloat asked if there was any movement on this subject.  Councilman Doran stated that he suggested a committee be formed and that Mr. Bourg had accepted to lead the committee.  In response to Mayor Pelloat’s question about other municipalities, Mr. Bourg stated that all municipalities have size ordinances but that he would check with Abita and Mandeville. He also stated he thought 7,000 square feet was large enough. Mr. Ogle asked is Parish ordinances were reviewed. Mr. Ogle also stated he felt our existing ordinances in regards to setbacks and height restrictions are not specific enough as Mandeville has an architectural design ordinance. 

3.            Mayor Pelloat requested to amend the agenda to look at Ordinance No. 152 and to address the Council regarding a conversation he had with the St. Anselm Church architects.  All were in favor.  Mayor Pelloat then read an email from the architects regarding what documents would be needed by the Town’s Planning & Zoning Commission and the Council in order for the Church to move forward with its new building. Mayor Pelloat asked for direction from the Council. Councilman Doran stated he felt the Church needs to have its meeting with the residents as it had promised. He stated that he feels the affected residents have not been included. Councilman Bounds asked Mr. Danner if the Council could deny the Church request if it is in compliance with all ordinances.  Mr. Danner replied “No”. Councilman Haddox stated that the Church had three meetings with the Mayor, Councilman Bounds and Mr. Jewell Chatellier, Building Official. Councilman Haddox and Mayor Pelloat then stated that the Church modified its plans to satisfy requested changes.  Mr. Bourg stated that if the Town had a size ordinance, then it could control adverse impacts from large buildings.  Councilman Bounds stated that if there are concerns then the Council needs to move quickly to change the Town rules.  Mr. Marcus suggested the Town would have the right to deny if it had an Architectural Committee. Mr. Danner stated that any denial could be challenged in court and cost legal fees if the owner detrimentally relied on existing ordinances. Mayor Pelloat stated he believes the new building is an improvement over the existing buildings and that the new building is on the same footprint as the existing buildings. Mr. Ogle stated that the Church would need a full set of plans to obtain a permit and that it needs $3 million to proceed; therefore, the Council has time. After much discussion it was agreed that the Church has abided by everything requested, that additional input from the community can be solicited, and that the present plans submitted by the architects is sufficient for the P&Z Commission and Council to consider for preliminary approval. Councilman Bounds agreed to reach out to Father Frank in regards to having a community meeting for the specific purpose of addressing any community concerns.   


Committee Members:         Councilman Kevin Doran

                                            Councilman Tim Bounds

1.                      Class-Action Lawsuit against opioid manufacturers and distributors

Mayor Pelloat asked the Town attorney, Mr. Bruce Danner to provide an explanation of this subject.  Mr. Danner reported that the Town has been approached by another attorney seeking the Town to join a class action suit. He stated that he does not see damages to the Town; however, if the case is settled, the damages to the Town may not have to be proven. He also stated that the Town police department may be aware of any damages in the form of opioid related incidents. Councilman Haddox asked what other municipalities are participating. Mr. Danner responded Covington and Mandeville. Mr. Danner also stated that the Town can join the lawsuit at any time and that although not a plaintiff, the Town may still be included as part of an affected class. In response to Councilman Doran, Mr. Danner stated there is no cost to the Town to join the lawsuit. In response to Councilman Doran, Mayor Pelloat stated that he does not see any damages but did not want to make the decision alone in case in the future there were significant settlement amounts. Councilman Haddox recommended the Town join the lawsuit. Councilman Doran asked if there is a deadline to join.  Mr. Danner responded “No”. Mayor Pelloat asked Mr. Danner to speak with the other attorney.  

Public Comment Period:  members of the audience will have three (3) minutes to make a statement or express a concern.  (Anyone having or expressing a concern tonight may or may not get an answer due to the fact that the council is hearing the concern for the first time.   All statements will be considered and everyone will receive an answer in the near future).

Councilman Doran asked about the dredging occurring at the mouth of the Tchefuncte. Mayor Pelloat stated it is a Corps of Engineers project and that he attended a meeting with the Corps.  He stated that Mr. Warren Davie was also at the meeting. Mayor Pelloat stated that he asked about the spoils and that the spoils are being deposited in the water on both sides of the Lighthouse. Once any spoils build up on Mr. Davie’s property, Mr. Davie can ask for a permit to fill in and reclaim his property that is presently under water.

Councilman Haddox provided an update on the Lighthouse Security System.  He is working with members of the Lake Ponchartrain Basin Foundation, including John Ammerman, Gary Nicosia and Lora Haddox, on the security system that will cost approximately $10,000. He stated that the present challenge is funding for power to the Lighthouse via utility poles or solar power.  This will cost between $4,000 and $7,000 extra. Mr. Bourg suggested reaching out to Robert Baker to help.  Councilman Haddox stated Mr. Davie is helping. Mr. Bourg asked about building a Christmas Tree barrier at the mouth of the Tchefuncte.  Councilman Haddox stated this is a $1.5 million permitted project but there is no funding at this time.  

Councilman Bounds recognized Mr. Brent Belsom and Mr. Kyle Ross of Abita Roasting Company, Mr. Louis Ogle and Mr. Myron Bourg for staying throughout the entire meeting and showing their interest in the Town.


Motion made by Councilman Bounds to adjourn, seconded by Councilman Haddox, motion passed with all in favor.


Wayne C. Morlier

Town Clerk