Vinton community meets to discuss megasite proposal

Vinton community meet to discuss megasite proposal
(Source: Maranda Whittington/KPLC)
(Source: Maranda Whittington/KPLC)

VINTON, LA (KPLC) - First, it was a landfill proposal, but that idea failed nearly two years ago in Vinton.

Now a new idea has sprung up, not a landfill this time, but instead an industrial and manufacturing mega site.

Developers met with people in Vinton Wednesday night to go over the details, and while some were for it others were hesitant to bring up a variety of concerns.

The applicant said even if the request gets the approval of the planning and zoning board and the Police Jury, the site would take years to create.

Two years ago the Vinton community met with developers to oppose a landfill coming to their area, but now residents are back with a new set of developers who want to rezone a part of the town for a mega site.

A mega-site would allow companies to come and use the site to manufacture their products, but the one being proposed would be for light industrial use only.

An example that falls under light industrial use would be a car assembly plant or a distribution center.

Developers want to rezone over 10,000 acres of land from agriculture to light industrial.

Mark McMurry is one of the applicants for the rezoning request and says this area would be perfect for a mega-site because there's enough land to create the site, and it sits between a major interstate.

But some residents in the community were concerned about a variety of issues including the size.

"I plan to build a house next spring," said resident, Chance Fenetz. "For me to make a life-changing decision on who's going to build 100 yards away from me with a mega-site manufacturing facility is a difficult thing to think about."

There were a few people that were in favor of the mega-site though.

"Don't pass this up," said resident, Jack Hebert. "Get it where you want to be comfortable. Get it where you are protected. Make sure they do the drainage but do not pass this up, because this is going to be something that we'll all benefit by."

While the community left with a better understanding of what the developers are looking to do, nothing can officially move forward until the zoning is changed.

"That's one this area could use in helping us diversify the economy here from what we already have and what we know ourselves to be," said McMurry. "It's to give us one more thing on that list of things we can be."

The Calcasieu Parish planning and zoning board will meet on June 19th to vote on the zoning request. Their recommendation will then go before the Police Jury who will have the final decision on the request.

If the Police Jury approves the request then the developers will meet with the state's Department of Economic Development to get the site certified.

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