Iberville residents complain about timber company

Fifteen upset residents who live near Woodson Inc. on Belleview Drive complained to the Iberville Parish Council on Tuesday night how the company has expanded its storage of massive timbers, used for equipment mats, and created piles of other possibly creosote-soaked timbers.

Yolanda Laws, representing the Southeast Plaquemine Coalition of Concerned Citizens, passed out a flyer with a list of complaints and a photograph of stacks of timbers a few feet away from a trampoline in a residential backyard.

Laws alleged the company burned piles of creosote-soaked timbers, causing some residents to visit doctors due to the smoke inhalation.

“We consider this to be an unlawful act,” Laws said. “This is a residential property zone and they are turning it into industrial property. And there are 18-wheelers in and out of the neighborhood at all hours of the day and night.”

Salaris G. Butler, who represents the area on the parish council, said the company has had “numerous complaints against it” and “it is an eyesore.” He vowed to call a meeting and invite state Department of Environmental Quality and possibly U.S. Environmental Protection Agency officials.

“We want to make sure this is a safe community,” Butler said. “I’m behind you 100 percent.” No date was set for a public meeting about it.

Parish President J. Mitchell Ourso Jr. also said he would contact Woodson Inc. officials to get their side of the story. The next council meeting will be July 16 at the North Iberville Community Center.

In other business Tuesday, the council:

  • Approved 2013 ad valorem taxes at 15.73 mills plus 6.76 mills for Fire District No. 2, and 3.83 mills for Fire District No. 1.
  • Approved an ordinance providing for the incurring of debt and issuance of $600,000 of limited tax certificates to provide funding for build a new office maintenance complex in St. Gabriel, where monthly water works bills will be collected.

Ourso also reported that he signed the paperwork Friday allowing Lincoln Builders to begin moving dirt for the new $19.6 million, 43,000-square-foot Ochsner Health System Clinic La. 1 in South Plaquemine.

He said he will host a groundbreaking at 11 a.m. Tuesday and invited the council.

Editor’s note: This story was modified on June 19, 2013, to indicate that Salaris G. Butler serves on the Iberville Parish Council, not in the state Legislature. The Advocate regrets the error.