Code, noise concerns voiced to Jury

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A Mire family has been struggling for a year and a half with the noise from a welding shop next door to their house and the want the Acadia Parish Police Jury to do something about it.

And it’s not only the noise that concerns Anthony and Sondra Broussard, they say the building does not meet state fire code and was constructed too close to their property line.

Reading from a four-page, single-spaced letter, Sondra Broussard detailed her family’s many meetings with parish officials, parish code enforcement officials and state Fire Marshal officials dating back to February of 2012.

The Broussards allege that parish officials turned a deaf ear to their complaints and allowed Nick Stelly Welding and Machine to continue in operation despite a litany of fire code and parish noise ordinance violations.

Ron Lawson, code enforcement officer for the parish, told jurors that Stelly’s building was already constructed before he was made aware of its existence and that, when he approached Stelly about the building, he was told that it was to be used for storage.

At the time, according to Lawson, the building met all the state requirement for such use.

However, the Broussards said it wasn’t long before 18-wheelers were pulling in and out of the lot and welding activity was in full force there.

Stelly admitted that he constructed the building before he obtained a permit, saying. “I’m young. I made a mistake and I learned from it.”

He also outlined a number of steps he’s taken in an attempt to bring the building up to code and to muffle the noise, including cutting working hours for his 30 employees.

“What do you want him to do?” Juror David Savoy asked of the Broussards. “Do you want him to shut down his business?”

Anthony Broussard said he just wants Stelly to comply with fire safety codes and with the parish noise ordinance.

The problem with the latter is that, although Acadia Parish has no zoning or land use ordinance, since Stelly’s business is located in a predominantly residential area, he must adhere to noise levels adopted for that area.

“I have to follow residential laws and I still get taxed as industrial,” he told the jurors. “I feel like I’m within the guidelines and I’m doing all I can.”

Jurors took no action on the Broussards’ complaints, instead voting to refer the matter to the Buildings and Grounds Committee which will meet on Nov. 5.

Jurors expressed hope that legal counsel as well as representatives from the Fire Marshal’s Office and the Acadia Parish Sheriff’s Office will attend that meeting.

In other business Tuesday night, Glenn Stokes, owner and CEO of Mosquito Control Contractors, reported that Acadia  Parish leads surrounding parishes in controlling West Nile Virus.

He presented documentation showing that only two “indicators” of West Nile virus have been found in the parish in the last 38 weeks. That compares to 48 in neighboring Lafayette Parish.

He also said that there have been no cases of human West Nile virus reported in Acadia Parish to date, compared with nine cases — including six of the potentially deadly neuro-invasive strain — in Lafayette Parish.

“I have to say, this is miraculous,” Stokes said.