Wednesday, October 12, 2011
But in unincorporated Lafayette Parish, almost anything goes.
I saw the plans last week for the garbage transfer station being built on Sunbeam Lane in north Lafayette. As the crow flies it’s not far from my house near Four Corners, and as facilities that deal with garbage go, it will be a nice one — an enclosed building surrounded by trees and landscaping in which trash trucks pull in and dump their cargo into 18-wheelers, which then make the trek to the landfill. It’s an efficient, economical means of transferring waste. And a necessary one. Like it or not we generate a lot of garbage. Too much, really.
The facility will operate in a nook in unincorporated Lafayette Parish near a scrap yard and what appears to be a staging area for the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office’s work-release program. Industrial detritus litters the area, the remnants of 20th century enterprise cordoned off by barbed wire and hurricane fence near a spotty procession of modest and ramshackle houses, sheds, and trailer and mobile homes. This is not a place the chamber of commerce drives prospective members through, and but for the angst occasioned in part by the real concerns of a few people living adjacent to the site and the manufactured angst of a councilman seeking re-election, it is a forgotten dot on the parish map.
But because it is more or less an industrial area and especially because of its proximity to Interstate 10, it’s just about as ideal a site for such a facility as there is.
IESI, the garbage hauler leasing the land on which the facility is going up — concrete has been poured and pipes laid, contractors are scurrying about unperturbed by controversy or political exigency — says it will be an odorless, orderly operation from the olfactory vantage point of nearby residents, who will not see the actual transfer station unless they rent a helicopter and fly overhead.
Yet it still stinks. Not because tons of garbage will move through the facility. And not because IESI didn’t dot every i and cross every t in getting the project approved by Lafayette Consolidated Government.
The area is more or less a finger of unincorporated Lafayette Parish extending southward into the northern edge of the city limits, and the controversy over the garbage transfer facility underscores Lafayette Parish’s glaring lack of planning and establishment of uniform — consolidated — building codes over the decades.
In the city limits there are limits — on what you can build, where you can build it, how you build it, whether it’s commercial or residential and who must be notified before an ounce of concrete is poured. In the parish it’s anything goes. And on Sunbeam Lane where the west side of the road is city and the east side of the road is parish, the reality of our lack of planning comes crashing to earth, leaving families who are probably living in the area out of economic necessity understandably concerned about multi-ton garbage trucks rumbling down their street, and leaving a company that performed its due diligence and met every legal requirement imposed by government — arguably too few, but it met them nonetheless — in a staring contest with the City-Parish Council, which last week passed an introductory ordinance that aims to block IESI and all future haulers from constructing garbage transfer facilities in Lafayette Parish.
This has Greyhound written all over it. IESI cleared the legal hurdles; the project is under way. To retroactively block it is to invite a lawsuit like the one Greyhound Bus Lines filed after the council OK’d and then un-OK’d moving its Lafayette bus station to an abandoned bank building on Moss Street. LCG is in the process of settling that suit and will give Greyhound a couple of decades of free rent in the new Rosa Parks Transportation Center downtown for its troubles. LCG also paid $270,000 to buy the Moss Street property from Greyhound.
The same will happen with IESI if the ordinance passes. If anything, IESI will have to be grandfathered. But the transfer station will be built. How can it not?
This stink also gives the lie to this notion that we have consolidated government in Lafayette. Neither the residents living nearby nor the councilman who represents them evidently had any idea this project had been approved until it was under way. The left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing under Lafayette Consolidated Government. The only thing that is consolidated in LCG is services.
With six of the LPSB’s nine members poised for Pat Cooper’s termination, a request was filed Tuesday for a fast-tracked hearing on the federal lawsuit calling for the disqualification of two board members from voting on the matter due to bias.
A few of my favorite things
Louisiana's Republican Party has filed a complaint against Democratic U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu with the Senate's ethics committee about her use of private chartered planes.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
An attorney signs up to run against LPSB's Mark Cockerham, and within a week a lawsuit is filed by a former LPSS employee in an attempt to disqualify him. Coincidence?
According to Gov. Bobby Jindal, President Barack Obama needs to stop talking about “justice” and start murdering people, even if we have to go alone.
A replacement is expected by January to fill the vacancy left when Greg Roberts resigned after allegedly pointing a fake gun at an engineer during a June meeting.
The Ragin’ Cajuns got off to a superb start Saturday night, and the Human Jukebox made the soaked season opener even sweeter for the third-largest crowd in Cajun Field history.
The Louisiana health department will follow a federal judge's order and refrain from immediately penalizing doctors who are trying to comply with a new abortion law that requires them to obtain admitting privileges at a local hospital, a spokeswoman said Monday.
Halliburton says it has agreed to pay $1.1 billion to settle a substantial portion of plaintiff claims arising from the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
While bogged down with qualifying candidates last month, Secretary of State Tom Schedler didn’t lose sight of the true endgame coming in November and December.
Tuesday's Blogs from the Bog!
Stoned driving a concern when pot is legal; Detroit's bankruptcy trial; speed trap scandal in Florida and more national and international news for Tuesday, September 02, 2014.
A federal jury found attorney Daniel Stanford guilty Friday afternoon on eight of 13 counts for his role in the Curious Goods conspiracy.
Lafayette City-Court Judge Francie Bouillion has served on the bench for two decades since winning a special election to replace Judge Kaliste Saloom when he retired in 1994.
The Houston firm said Friday in its weekly report that 1,575 rigs were exploring for oil and 338 for gas. One was listed as miscellaneous. A year ago there were 1,776 active rigs.
A crew began erecting the 25-foot mini-wheel late morning Friday in anticipation of the evening’s Hottest Night of the Year party at the park.
Frances Boothe of Nunez, who also happens to be filmmaker Stephen Meaux’s grandmother, prepares a cool-weather fave.
The magazine's senior football writer also predicts a break-out year for Saints fourth-year running back Mark Ingram.
New Iberia colonial or Broussard traditional home
The LPSB is poised and ready to move forward with the termination of Pat Cooper following a discussion Thursday with the attorney hired for the investigation of the superintendent, but a decision of this magnitude should be left up to the new board seated in January, especially with three pro-investigation board members bailing out come the new year.
Fiery style for game day
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
Gulf Coast ceremonies marking the ninth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina have begun.
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries says there is little known about the effects of tiger prawns on indigenous Louisiana shrimp. But, officials say the reports they're seeking will help state biologists monitor the distribution of the prawns and determine the possible presence of spawning populations.
Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh rested his regulars and watched with delight as Ray Rice's backups ground out 214 yards rushing in a 22-13 victory over the New Orleans Saints on Thursday night.
High-profile criminal defense attorney Daniel Stanford awaits his fate in the Curious Goods conspiracy trial.
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is set to put the kibosh on the legal ownership of monkeys trained to help the disabled, and the agency wants to know what you think.
A federal judge on Thursday asked lawyers battling over Louisiana's new, restrictive abortion law for an agreement that apparently could let clinics stay open — at least for a while — after the law takes effect Sept. 1.
Three bedroom Port Barre cottage or three bedroom historic district Opelousas home