Proposed RV Park, restored Lighthouse access in Madisonville drawing debate

Aldon Hewitt says the Madisonville Boat Launch is one of his favorite spots to spend time with his grandson. It's the kind of experience resident Warren Davie loves to hear and wants to see more of.

MADISONVILLE -- One man has big plans to bring a treasured piece of Lake Pontchartrain coastline back to life.

At the same time, there's a petition circulating to keep it from happening.

Aldon Hewitt says the Madisonville Boat Launch is one of his favorite spots to spend time with his grandson.  It's the kind of experience resident Warren Davie loves to hear and wants to see more of.

"My plan was for other people to enjoy this property like I have," Davie said.

Davie owns the marshland from the boat launch, West, which includes property around the town's iconic lighthouse.  The lighthouse used to be accessible by road in the 20s, but over time erosion has made even access by boat difficult.  So he's making a proposal to develop the area into an RV park and marina with a bike path and beach.  The project would create a new road to the lighthouse, include restoration to the marshland around it, and build a protective barrier in front of it.

His plan also includes raising lake road to the development, and adding a pedestrian lane.

"The town is a beautiful place and what the town likes is people coming," Davie said. "Like at the Wooden Boat Fesitval, they might have 10,000 or 12,000 people come and then they leave. They don't necessarily live here. But they use the restaurants, use the waterways, use the stores, use the boat launch."

But that's exactly why residents like Kristin Faison are not in favor of the idea.  Concerns include continued over-growth without planning, which she says displaces wildlife and destroys a unique quality of life.

"If you've driven through Madisonville, you see that it looks like Pleasantville," she said, "It's wonderful. I don't want to be smothered by this giant RV resort with strangers coming up and down my road all day long."

Hewitt, on the other hand, doesn't see an issue.

"We would love to see this developed further," he said. "It's such a choice area, just a great area."

It's the age-old debate over progress versus preservation, rising just above a ripple for now.

But the idea is just that, at this time.  The first of many hurdles is the town's Planning and Zoning Board, which is meeting on the topic Tuesday, Oct. 3, at 7 p.m. at Town Hall.

The plans, drawings and maps are available for review at Town Hall prior to the meeting.

An online petition opposing the plan is here. 

© 2017 WWL-TV


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