WBR Council denies zoning change for used-car business

The West Baton Rouge Parish Council denied a request to rezone a Port Allen property from agricultural to commercial, but only after the property owner and his neighbors agreed to an amicable solution before the council’s regular Thursday night meeting.

Robert W. Essick Jr. requested the zoning change to his property at 4936 Bueche Road because he wanted to sell used cars, but neighbors objected.

Natashia Carter Benoit told the council that a dialogue between the neighbors and Essick resulted in Essick pulling his rezoning request.

“The home occupation rules are very strict and we’re satisfied that he will follow those rules,” Benoit told the council.

Parish Planning Director Kevin Durbin told the council that “home occupation” means if a home occupies the property, it must keep the appearance of a house.

“If it looks like a house, then it has to smell like a house and it has to sound like a house,” Durbin said.

Essick said after the meeting that he planned on selling used cars over the Internet and any cars placed on the property would be located behind his shop and not in the front yard.

The council voted unanimously to deny the zoning change.

In another zoning matter, the council unanimously approved Jacob Coots and Point Solitude Trading Co.’s request to rezone their property at 6448 Smithfield Road in Port Allen from agricultural to light industrial.

Other matters coming before the council involved:

DECISIONS ON BIDS: The council accepted low bids for a park for disabled children in Erwinville, road projects and road building materials.

Heartland Parks and Recreation’s low bid of $89,640 will be used to create a playground for disabled children at Erwinville Community Center and Park and Myhand Park. Hahn Enterprise, Planet Recess and Kinkade Recreation also bid on the project.

Parish Executive Assistant Jason Manola recommended the council accept the low bids from Bear Industries, Construction Aggregate Supply, Coastal Culverts, Coburn’s Supply and Quality Sitework for 90 different kinds of construction materials like limestone, dirt, sand and corrugated polyethylene pipe.

Parish Engineer Kevin Gravois recommended the parish accept Hard Rock Construction’s $219,045 bid for improvements on Commercial Drive in Port Allen and R.J. Daigle and Sons Contractors’ $498,730 low bid for the parish’s 2013 road maintenance program.