COVINGTON, La. -- A fight over quiet versus commerce is plaguing neighborhoods south of Covington.
Homeowners along Brewster Road -- near Highway 21, south of I-12 -- are challenging a zoning change request, that if approved, could make way for more major retail development in the area.
Signs warning against that attempt litter the road as homeowners spread their stance on the issue.
"It's about what's right for this area, to have something that would go into an HC-3 zoning for that high commercial, big box store, would be detrimental to this road, to this quiet little neighborhood," said Andrew Moran.
About 40 acres of the land across the street from several neighborhoods was zoned to allow for major retail development in 2009.
However, an error was made on 10 acres when mapping out the plans and the property owner now wants that wrong right. His attempts at that fix have so far failed with the parish zoning board, and now the St. Tammany Parish Council plans to put off their Thursday night vote.
Residents say their fight over changing the 10 acres is really about raising awareness that the larger area should have never been changed from residential to start.
"We're hoping that they will take another look at their zoning plan,” said Bill Weil, president of the Nottoway Property Owners’ Association, “It's a land-use issue. We don't feel like the land in this area is compatible for high density commercial development."
But the property owner’s attorney, Paul J. Mayronne, tells Eyewitness News in a statement, “As part of the Comprehensive Rezoning effort of St. Tammany Parish (the "Parish"), the subject 10 acres, was rezoned to HC-3. This rezoning was approved by the St. Tammany Parish Council (the "Council") in ordinance form along with all other properties within the Southwest Study Area. As a result of the aforementioned action by the Council, the subject property is currently zoned HC-3. However, after the Council approved the HC-3 zoning on the Subject Property, a mapping error was made when the Council action was translated onto the Parish Zoning Map. This error simply needs to be corrected. The issue at hand is not what the subject property should be zoned, that decision has already been made and it is zoned HC-3, but whether the Parish will take the action necessary to correct an error by its mapping department. It is our position that the Parish is obligated to correct the error so that the Parish Zoning Map is in due conformity with the ordinance previously passed by the Council.”
Even though litigation over the issue is possible, and their day to fight will likely be delayed, the neighbors say they’ll stay ready to stick up for their road.
The councilman for the area says he will attempt to work with the property owner and the residents to find a solution while the issue is on hold.