Roachdale zoning gains momentum
ROACHDALE -- Travel, parking and zoning dominated the Town of Roachdale's monthly meeting Tuesday night.
The issue of setting zoning for the town was a popular topic at the gathering, with audience member concerns about keeping downtown Roachdale open and available for redevelopment and of local business cultivation.
Holly Cook spoke with the board about addressing and issuing a new ordinance to prevent downtown parking overnight.
Board members responded, saying they were more worried about daytime business hours.
"Overnight parking is not my concern," board member Zach Bowers said.
This sentiment was echoed by other members of the board.
Community members imbibing alcohol was also cited as a reason to keep overnight parking, so that the town is not indirectly encouraging people to drink and drive in order to prevent getting a ticket for leaving vehicles overnight.
Getting the town zoned appropriately to designate business and residential areas would give the town council more deciding power when property owners want to build or re-fashion existing businesses into something at odds with town goals.
As the lack of zoning currently stands, if one wanted to build residences downtown or open a restaurant in a residential neighborhood, there is nothing to prevent them from doing so.
Although the process is extensive, and therefore time-consuming, both the board and audience members felt that it might behoove the town to begin that process.
Lawyer Dave Peebles explained that a lot of time and effort could be saved by adopting a zoning ordinance based off other, similar-sized towns as opposed to starting completely from scratch and that the option could help them shift the inertia of getting proper zoning ordinances into motion.
No decision was required but the discussion carried the tone that it is time for zoning ordinances to be enforceable.
Board member Jack Jones aired concerns about Town Marshal Mike Mahoy "chasing down speeders on a state road," addressing the width and scope of jurisdiction and citing complaints that Mahoy and his staff have been pulling over speeders on State Road 236.
Mahoy said that sometimes when an officer is already patrolling the town's streets, he or another officer will travel State Road 236, pointing out that the road is still within their jurisdiction and citing continued enforcement of public safety.
"If I can go out there and stop a drunk driver I will," Mahoy said.
In other business:
* The town council approved a town credit card to help pay for the costs of supplies as well as the occasional lodging, meal and training expenses for town personnel. If in the circumstance that any interest or fees associated with the card are incurred, it will be the personal responsibility of the individual employee to pay those fees.
* Mahoy received approval for an overnight stay in Lafayette for a marshal's convention in April.
* The board approved a resolution that addresses travel policies, specifically it stated the rates of mileage compensation, personnel reimbursement and per diem costs.
Employees will be reimbursed up to .575 cents-per-mile, given $10 per diem for trips out of town in excess of four hours, $30 per diem for overnight trips and allows for incidental expenses to be reimbursed so long as receipts are presented. Any parking tickets, fines or other type costs cannot be claimed.
The creation of a redevelopment commission was discussed at the inception of the meeting and is highlighted in a companion article that can be found online at (http://www.bannergraphic.com/story/2166031.html) or in the Friday, Feb. 12 edition of the Banner Graphic.
Roachdale Town Council meetings are held on the second Tuesday of every month at 6 p.m. at the Roachdale Town Hall.
The next meeting will be Tuesday, March 10.