DENHAM SPRINGS — The City Council voted Tuesday night to consider a proposed drinking water protection ordinance.
The council also voted to seek debris removal proposals for the next storm and heard lengthy debates on the granting of variances and demolition of a house.
There are few existing state regulations that protect water wells, Jesse Means of the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality told the council, suggesting that the city enact its own ordinance to protect its water supply.
“The idea is to keep chemicals away from your wells,” he said.
Some municipalities have had problems with gasoline and other chemicals getting into public water wells, Means said.
The proposed ordinance would prevent injection wells and some other facilities within 1,000 feet of the city’s water wells.
The council set a public hearing for 6 p.m. Aug. 27 at the Denham Springs Municipal Building.
Other issues taken up by council included:
VARIANCE REQUEST: Earlier in a lengthy meeting, the council voted 3-2 to deny a request for three variances for a 15.5-foot-tall shed built by a Gardner Avenue resident to house his motor home.
A neighbor, Vanessa Bailey, complained that the shed causes water issues in her yard, blocks her view and
reduces the value of her
The site does not qualify for a variance under the city code, Bailey said.
She told the council that if it granted the variances, it would be saying, “you can build without a permit, break ordinances and get away with it.”
James Vinson said he was not aware that he needed a permit to build the structure.
Councilmen Chris Davis and John Watson voted to grant the variances.
Council members Annie Fugler, Lori Lamm-Williams and Arthur Perkins voted against issuing the variances.
Fugler said she is upset that people build what they want without permits and then seek variances.
Perkins said that if a person builds without a permit, there should be a significant fine.
RESIDENTIAL DEMOLITION: After hearing from neighbors who complained about the condition of a house located at 721 Poplar St.,the council voted unanimously to condemn the house and order the owner to demolish the structure within 60 days.
Rick Foster, the city’s building official, told the council that the house is “unfit for human habitation” in its current condition.