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St. Martin Parish President reacts to judge’s decision denying injunction against Lake Martin business

Posted at 6:26 PM, Apr 10, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-10 23:16:08-04

St. Martin Parish President Chester Cedars is reacting to a judge’s decision denying an injunction against two businesses operating on Lake Martin.

The parish government sought the injunction against Champagne’s Cajun Swamp Tours and The Wharf on Lake Martin because they said they are in violation of a zoning ordinance.

Cedars said he cannot say much about this case because it is still pending.

“”I wanted this case to go to court,” said Cedars. “I wanted there to be a judicial determination and I kind of want a final judicial determination. I don’t know whether that embraces an appeal or not.”

Cedars believes there needs to be a happy medium between the needs of Lake Martin and commercial activity.

“Given the current situation, we do not believe that is a happy medium,” Cedars said.

In 2016, St. Martin Parish filed a motion alleging Champane’s Cajun Swamp Tours and the Wharf on Lake Martin were in violation of zoning regulations…a claim owner Bryan Champagne recently denied in court.

Cedars believes the parish’s zoning ordinances are valid. He says the government has five years to enforce a zoning violation.

“Once I have a solid, clear position from a legal perspective, I intend to adopt certain steps or recommend to the parish council that we adopt certain steps that I think will benefit Lake Martin, Lake Martin Preserve for today and tomorrow,” said Cedars.

The current zoning map was not filed with the clerk of courts office until last week. The previous map did not detail certain areas of the unincorporated parts of the parish.

Cedars said that was a clerical error, noting the zoning classifications are available on the parish’s website.

“There was not one shred of evidence that the defendant ever tried to find the zoning classification by going to the clerk’s office,” Cedars said.

Champagne declined comment on this story.