OPELOUSAS, L.a. — Demolition lines were drawn in the middle of Seminole Lane in St. Landry Parish Tuesday afternoon, leaving neighbors in the Shawnee Hills subdivision worried that the owner of the nearby private property is going to demolish the road.
"It's a parish road," said Shawnee Hills resident Darrell Richard. "How can you do that?"
"It's wrong to try to segregate people and do stuff like this," Charles Goff, another Shawnee Hills resident said.
The lines — drawn on the contested stretch of road — got the attention of St. Landry Parish officials who headed out to the barricadeto review maps. Parish President Jessie Bellard even sent a parish truck to make sure the road wasn't torn up by the private property owner.
"I'm gonna instruct them not to mess with the road until we can get better clarity as to what needs to be done here," Bellard said. "Obviously there's an issue with this barricade being in place, whether that's a legal issue or not, the judge has ruled on it."
Also on site was parish attorney Garett Duplechain who told KATC the portion of the road where the barrier sits was determined to be private property by a judge in 2018.
"It is a parish road but the area right there, there was a question as to whether or not it is public or private," Duplechain said. "And, um, the court made the decision that it is a common area owned by a private interest and so the road was closed."
Now neighbors are questioning that decision by parish leadership at the time.
"They made their own decision, so when the court case happened, the judge said 'Okay, what's going on?' they said 'We're settling, we do not object, we are giving parish property to The Ranch," Goff said. "And that's the judgment they're talking about and the judge let them do it."
KATC received a written statement from the private property owners. They write that this barrier marks a legal division of two distinct roads, separating two subdivisions, and that side is private property.
Meanwhile, neighbors in Shawnee Hills said they're not letting this go — they're taking the issue to Wednesday's parish council meeting.
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