Seafood processing in Depot District?
By Jennifer Lenain
Feb 26, 2013, 19:29
The Bay St. Louis Planning and Zoning Board on Tuesday gave preliminary approval to a controversial plan to operate a small seafood market in the heart of the historic Depot District.
Neighboring residents and business owners were hoping Tuesday to influence the board's decision on an application for a special exception to place a seafood business on Depot Row.
Laverna Benigno Dedeaux had submitted an application stating the intention to conduct a retail and wholesale seafood business.
By the "Chart of Uses," a retail fish market may be allowed by Special Exception with approval of the city council in a C-2 Neighborhood Commercial District, according to Zoning Administrator Charlene Black's review of the application.
Also according to the "Chart of Uses," a wholesale business which is identified as a light or small scale manufacturing operation is not allowed in a C-2, Neighborhood Commercial District, but may be allowed by Special Exception in a I-1, Limited Industrial District or in a I-2, Planned Industrial District, Black said.
The business will have a processing room for crab picking. The property is located at 128 Blaize Avenue.
Roy Dedeaux, husband of the applicant, presented his plan to the board.
"We will be tourist-oriented," Dedeaux said. "We will promote Bay St. Louis." "As a business, we will offer fresh and boiled seafood," he said, "we are going to have a small meat counter and offer specials like our muffalettas."
With standing room only, community residents voiced their opinions for and against the applicant's requests.
A petition has been circulating opposing the application, neighborhood resident Terri Stoltz said: "We are not opposed to the business, we just don't want that type of business in our community."
There were 46 signatures on the petition and eight letters opposing the applicant's requests, Stoltz said.
Bob McRaney, a resident of nearby Kellar Street, said he was opposed to the business due to the smell that will result, along with rodents, noise from an outdoor boiling station and increased traffic.
Others said they were just trying to protect their own properties.
"I am trying to protect my property value and my quality of life," Blaize Ave. resident and business owner John White said.
Dedeaux told the board that he had 22 signatures in favor of his business from residents of the neighborhood and 210 signatures in favor of the business from residents of the community. Charles Empanini, who he has lived on Hancock Street since 1969, said he is in favor of the applicant's requests.
"Bay St. Louis has always been an area where businesses and homes mixed," he said. "Things are hard enough now, and this business will add employment."
Another resident in favor of the plan shared the same opinion: "This business will make jobs available to those in the area," Mark Lafontaine said.
Zoning board member Amby Daigre told opponents, "We have been smelling seafood forever, it is not going to stop. Go look at all the empty buildings before you condemn this business. They are trying to help the community."
Daigre made a motion to allow the special exception. The motion passed unanimously. Board member Ron Daricek made a motion to deny the request for a wholesale processing business.
The board turned down the motion by a vote of 4 to 2. The project will go before the Bay St. Louis City Council on March 5.