COVINGTON, La. -- Survey stakes now line the property along Brewster Road and Highway 21 in St. Tammany Parish, which is the battle ground between the land’s owner and the land’s neighbors.
A judge’s ruling shifted that battle late Monday saying the courts can’t make the parish right what the landowner says is wrong; the parish has to do it on its own. About 40 acres of the land was zoned to allow for major retail development in 2009.
However, an error was made on 10 acres when mapping out the plans. The property owner asked the Parish Zoning Commission to fix it. The commission said no, leading to the court challenge. People who live in the surrounding neighborhoods are thrilled with the outcome so far.
“We're at even with the property owner and we can both express our wishes for this particular land use and see what's best for this area," said Nottoway resident Bill Weil.
At this point the landowner has two options -- either appeal the ruling to another judge, or bring it to the parish council. So far, the landowner's attorney says they don't have a decision because they're still reviewing the ruling.
The group, which has fought the change with signs and a show of force, fear a big box store is in their future if the error is reversed. They plan on reloading and growing their efforts to prepare for whatever comes next.
"We think it gives us a good opportunity to continue to round our troops up and fight this zoning that never should have been done in the first place," said Shady Oaks resident Ken Harvey.
The parish says it is waiting for the judgment to be finalized before discussing the matter. As a side note, any ordinance the council considers can only be submitted by a council member or the administration, not a citizen.