More horse owners denied special permits

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - It was round two Wednesday night at the Lake Charles City Council. More horse owners not in compliance were asking for special permits. No one who came before the City Council met the distance requirements to house livestock inside the city limits. The law states there must be 150 feet between the nearest property line and 300 feet from the nearest residence, structure or business.

"I want to use this particular property for grazing not housing animals and rotate in and out - two to three horses at a time," explained Gregory Edwards, horse owner.

While Edwards offered up support from neighbors, 11 other residents living within a one-mile radius of the 1900 block of Woodward Street object. And like most of the horse owners, Edwards doesn't live on or own the property but has a standing agreement with Entergy.

"Entergy is the one on this right of way.  They made a decision to allow livestock to come onto their property to keep out of cutting grass, but at the same time they haven't been good landlords," said Councilman Marshall Simien, Jr.

While Edwards was denied, two other horse owners were given a special permit. Not only do they own the land, but they have no opposition to the animals.

"We keep livestock and cattle. We move them in and out and I have no complaints from neighbors. I got approval for all of them - nobody objected," said Andrew Fontenot, horse owner.

"This is the kind of property where nobody is in opposition or anything so it meets our ordinance," said Councilman Dana Carl Jackson.

Rounding out the agenda were several other horse owners along or near Fitzenreiter Road. Most of their structures on the property are up for demolition.

"I've got over 57 signatures of support from support people (sic), supporting my efforts to stay there," said Lawrence Louis, horse owner.

"I'm trying to do whatever needs to be done with the property," said James Thomas, Jr., horse owner.

"My horses stay stalled up and the lady across the street told me I could graze my horses in her place," said Moses Nelson, Jr., horse owner.

They argue there are no neighbors, but Councilman Simien points out that it's directly across the street from the future Riverside Park - a $1,600,000 investment.

"As you see you've got a lot of red-tagged buildings here.  A lot of things are being stored there. It's pretty much a junky place over there," said Simien.

Simien was referring to structures that have been designated as unsafe by city workers.

The council voted to deny the permit requests. The horse owners now have 30 days to make other arrangements for their animals. We did speak to several of those denied a special permit - all declined to go on camera, but did say it's not over and this isn't the last time you'll hear from them.

Copyright 2011 KPLC. All rights reserved.