St. Martin

Oct 1, 2013 11:12 PM by Erin Steuber

Neighborhood Says It's Time for Neighbor to Go

Residents of a Breaux Bridge neighborhood want one of their neighbors to leave. Ragin' Machines, LLC was granted a six month zoning extension that expired in June, but the company is still at the Bridge Street address. The city council has voted twice to take legal action against Ragin' Machines. The problem: Mayor Jack Delhomme wouldn't sign the original resolution, and the second time the mayor vetoed the vote. But residents in the neighborhood say they've had enough and it's time for the company to go.

It's business as usual at Ragin' Machines, LLC on East Bridge Street in Breaux Bridge. Despite the recent controversy, and the expired zoning variance, Ragin' Machines' attorney says the company is not going anywhere, and there's nothing anyone can do about it.

"These people can jump up and down and yell and scream 'til they have no voices, but my clients are in compliance with the zoning ordinances," said Attorney Glenn Soileau.

While Ragin' Machines is new to the neighborhood business in that same location is not. In 1982 an oilfield business opened there and remained until Ragin' Machines moved in about a year ago.

"The machine shop didn't come up overnight. It was there many may years before Shane Ocmand moved there, and the house that Shane Ocmand lives in, adjacent to the shop, was built by Rusty Clark who operated the business next door," said Soileau.

But having a business practically in the backyard of this neighborhood is not the problem. Ocmand says it's the type of business and the way they moved in.

"I don't have a problem with them operating, it's where they're at. If they were to move their business elsewhere we have no problem with that," said Ocmand. "It just doesn't belong where it's at."

The neighborhood is worried if the business is allowed to stay it will mean more industries moving in.

"If they're allowed to have a business why wouldn't someone else be allowed to have a business right across the street? It's an empty lot," said resident Larry LeBlanc.

"My clients, Ragin' Machine shop, will move on one of two occasions: When I die or hell freezes over, that's it. Otherwise they're there to stay," said Soileau.

The residents plan to re-address the issue of Ragin' Machine at the Breaux Bridge council meeting next week.

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