Clearing underway upsets residents

Residents of Jamestown subdivision in Moss Bluff are upset about clearing underway of thickly wooded area that has served as buffer between their homes and Highway 378 for years.

Anyone lucky enough to live in a secluded, restricted subdivision, would no doubt, like to keep it that way. But today some Moss Bluff residents failed in their efforts to get a developer to leave some trees as a buffer between their homes and commercial property off Highway 378.

One thing is clear-- partners Peto Sellers and Jeff Pitre, of J & P Land Development LLC,  were perfectly within their rights to bulldoze the land between Jamestown Subdivision and Highway 378 in Moss Bluff. It's their property.

As Peto told me on the phone: he could go in there and cut down every tree. But residents sure are disappointed to see the woods go:

The eight acres of thick brush and trees between 378 and Jamestown subdivision helped to provide privacy and block the noise from traffic on the highway. Residents spoke out when land owners decided to clear the property-- hoping that at least, a buffer of brush and trees would be left next to the homes, "or some kind of natural tree line where we can feel a little bit more secluded, which was the idea of the subdivision in the first place," says resident Maggie Chatoney.

Marlene Mullenix says landowners had indicated a willingness to work with residents. "It just happened so abruptly, we just feel like we have no control to determine how best to go about all of this. There's gotta be a way to go half and half. To have commercial and keep some of the natural landscape."

Land owner Peto Sellers says he was going to leave a few bushes but admits he became aggravated that residents would, in his words, make a stink out of it. He came up to Mullenix as KPLC was shooting video at which time he was asked, "Would you like to comment for the news?"  He turned and walked away as Mullenix called, "Peto? Mr. Peto?"

So, he says he went ahead with his original plans. The bull dozer operator explained it this way to Mullenix. "He said, 'Now you've done it. I'm going to bull doze the whole thing and I've been told to bull doze the whole thing.'"

And, as she watched, the dozer cleared right up to residents fence line. All very distressing for those like Mullenix,  who's lived here for nearly eighteen years.

Parish officials say current ordinances do not require a buffer zone in this situation --but that the Unified Development Code they are working on is expected to address buffer zone requirements for new developments.

Copyright 2011 KPLC. All rights reserved.