Road, gas lines damaged by Rouzan construction, property owner says

A man who owns property in the center of Rouzan testified Tuesday his home has been without gas service since October because work on the latest phase of Tommy Spinosa’s mixed-use development damaged his natural gas line.

Bobby Welch also said the construction ruined the private road leading to and from his property.

Welch, whose property is not part of the Rouzan development, is seeking damages in a lawsuit he and fellow property owner Danny Hoover filed against the city-parish Planning Commission and Spinosa’s 2590 Associates LLC in January 2012.

Welch said his damages include several thousand dollars he spent on a temporary culvert and $2,500 on damaged gas lines. He also said it would cost about $10,000 to resurface his servitude with gravel.

State District Judge Janice Clark, who is presiding over a bench trial of the suit, toured the area near Welch’s and Hoover’s property Tuesday.

Hoover is expected to testify Wednesday. Alex St. Amant II represents the Hoover and Welch families.

The Welch and Hoover properties are next to Rouzan’s latest phase — 34 planned single-family homes on six acres of the property called Creekside.

Welch testified that a 400-foot-long, 30-foot-wide servitude willed to the Welch and Hoover families by the previous property owner is now just 14 feet in width due to construction on Creekside.

The gravel road once provided a direct route to Glasgow Avenue off Perkins, but now, Welch said, he must maneuver a maze of narrow, one-way streets to get to and from his home.

“I had a private 30-foot-wide access servitude (to Glasgow). That is gone,” he testified. “The property is non-sellable unless I sold it to the TND (traditional neighborhood development).”

TND is how Creekside is classified.

Welch conceded he has not tried to sell his property.

Frank Gremillion, an attorney for the city-parish, assured Clark there is no plot between Rouzan’s developer and the city-parish to take property or expropriate property without proper compensation.

“We have not conspired with anyone to acquire this property,” he said.

Brian McCullough, an attorney for 2590 Associates, said to Clark that Welch and Hoover have to drive only a short distance to get to and from their homes.

Welch said he has been without natural gas service since Oct. 25, and it is not possible to convert the house to propane. Welch said he has a gas water heater, stove and heating system.

He also has endured temporary electricity, cable and telephone outages.

“My heating system will not run on propane,” he said.

Welch said there is a leak in the natural gas line on his property, but because he has been unable to locate the source of the leak, Entergy will not hook up the gas.

Rouzan is on Perkins Road southeast of Glasgow Avenue.

Editor’s note: This story was modified on Aug. 22, 2013, to indicate the correct location of Rouzan. It is on Perkins Road southeast of Glasgow Avenue, not between Stanford Avenue and Lee Drive. The Advocate regrets the error.