St. James extends moratorium on RV parks and campgrounds

The St. James Parish Council on Wednesday night extended for 30 days the six-month moratorium set to expire this month on construction and development of new RV parks and campgrounds.

The extension should give the Parish Council enough time to address its proposed new ordinance on RV parks and campgrounds and to hold another public hearing on the measure during its Aug. 21 council meeting in Vacherie, parish attorney Bruce Mohon said.

Councilmen Alvin St. Pierre, Jason Amato, Ralph Patin Jr., James Brazan, Charles Ketchens and Ken Brass voted for the extension, while Councilman Terry McCreary opposed it.

McCreary asked why the moratorium should be extended if, after two public hearings, the Parish Council usually votes on the matter.

Mohon said the extra time would allow councilmen to add further amendments, if needed, to the ordinance.

The moratorium will expire Sept. 7, or on the effective date of the proposed new ordinance if enacted.

The proposal has yet to come before the council for a vote, Mohon said.

The Parish Council approved the six-month moratorium in February after residents complained about the possibility of a new RV park opening in the Grand Point area between Convent and Lutcher.

Councilmen sought to amend the parish’s existing RV parks and campground ordinance by adding, among other items, limitations on possible locations for such businesses.

Other issues before the council included:

NEW HIGH SCHOOL: School Superintendent Alonzo Luce gave an update on the construction of the new St. James High School campus.

The new high school and football stadium, to be built on a 54-acre tract near La. 20 and La. 3127 in north Vacherie, is in the first phase of construction, with a concrete road off La. 3127 due for completion in the next 30 days, Luce said.

The first phase of the project calls for construction of a 270-car parking lot along with the stadium and its turf field, two concession stands, an eight-lane running track and seating for 2,800 people on the home side, architect Perry Segura said.

The new football stadium should be ready for the 2014-15 football season, Luce said.

YOUTH CENTER: Sheriff Willy Martin Jr. told the council that officials of Louisiana Workforce, a company that operates privatized work-release programs for jail inmates, are unsure if the former St. James Youth Center building could be used as a work-release program hub.

The youth center closed June 30 when the parish decided to shut down the facility because it did not meet new, higher state standards dealing with housing juveniles.

Martin said the officials told him they were worried about the cost and maintenance of operating a work-release program at the former youth center, based on the building’s layout.