Petition drive pushes back against zoning change to allow recreational center, ATV park

Residents living just outside of Washington Parish are pushing back against plans to provide a place for ATV riders to enjoy their hobby.

Residents living just outside of Washington Parish are pushing back against plans to provide a place for ATV riders to enjoy their hobby.

The proposal to put an ATV park inside of a recreational complex was denied by the parish zoning board, but developers are considering appealing the decision and that has neighbors pushing back.

Residents of the neighborhood, like Lou Sepulveda like the fact that the neighborhood along the northern end of Lee Road, almost to Washington Parish is quiet.

However, Sepulveda and his neighbors are worried about the loud noise and activity that the ATVs would bring.
“It just destroys the peace and tranquil environment, not to mention our property values will plummet,” he said.

The concern stems from a public hearing notice posted about the 1,500 acres of land north of Sepulveda’s neighborhood, and adjacent to two others.

A group of developers were hoping to change the area’s zoning from allowing just residential development built on five acres or more to a designation that would allow them to build a recreational complex on the property.

The developers say they envision families coming to the rec complex to camp and fish around a large lake, in similar fashion to state parks.

But, they also want to convert six trails on the property into an ATV park, similar to the popular Tower Trax Park in Tangipahoa Parish.

Sepulveda says residents are worried about the development’s potential noise and traffic increase, but also about what a permanent zoning change could bring next.

“There are lakes and there are parks that we all can go to that are already established and in place and zone for that purpose,” said Sepulveda. “That one isn’t.”
Since the zoning board agreed with the neighbors, developers say they’ve returned to the drawing board, especially since they share many of the concerns they heard, but hadn’t considered.

That’s a relief to some, but because the proposal could still find life with the parish council, a petition drive is now the focus of the neighborhood’s fight.

Developers have until Friday to officially file for an appeal, which they say they’re likely to do. However, they are unsure how far they’ll take it. 

© 2017 WWL-TV


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