Issues facing Sorrento residents

Greg Fischer Editor-in-chief
Robert Debate addresses LDEQ at the public hearing concerning the BFI Colonial Landfill Draft Water Discharge Permit.

Capt. Chris Fontenot read the police report at the May Town Council meeting in Sorrento. Crime is down, but trailers and the colonial dump are causing concerns.

Councilwoman Patti Poche expressed concerns that people are moving trailers into town without proper permits.

" . . . People are just moving them in," Poche said. "We don't know whether they have permits. We don't know if they have special permission from [the mayor]. We don't know. They come in on the weekends--"

"--The only special persmission I can offer is when they call and says, 'It's raining on Friday, and can we move it in on Saturday,'" Mayor Lambert said. "But I didn't get a request."

The next trailer issue is one parked at the end of Payton Street that does not meet town requirements. The trailer may be hazardous to neighborhood children. Currently it is barricaded, but the barricades were moved behind the badly damaged home on the property.

The issue is that this enormous trailer is unknown to be moveable, and it is in a spot that is situated behind a tree and along a narrow driveway along the waterway.

The owner of the estate claims to not know where the trailer came from. Councilman Randy Anny suggested that the APSO camera system be utilized to find when the trailer was moved.

"I don't know how long they keep those videos," Lambert said. "The trailer was never registered."

The council has more questions than answers for the trailer, but it looks like attorney Matt Percy will look into the matter for legalities.

"We can sue the estate, but either way if we move it we're going to want reimbursement," Percy said.

Furthermore, two days after the council meeting, the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality held a public forum at the Sorrento Community Center for the BFI Colonial Landfill Draft Water Discharge Permit. Sorrento residents that live within a two-mile radius of the Colonial Landfill spoke out against the permit, claiming they are already deprived of clean air and water.

"Just imagine a cool, refreshing rain," Resident Robert Debate said. "The smells that you smell after the rain is finished from the flowers, the grass, and the trees. We're deprived of that. Of being able to breathe fresh, clean air. Somebody in this room, depending on the direction of the wind is affected every time. It's unacceptable."

Next, Gene Leblanc stated that the runoff from the landfill has destroyed his swampland. He said that his home water and gas detectors are showing harmful conditions. His wife said she cannot sit with her granddaughter on their porch because of the odor. No one was there to represent BFI, nor the town government, although Councilwoman Randi Sutton was in attendance. And no one spoke in favor of the draft water discharge permit.

The LDEQ contact is Karen Jones. Her email is

Moving on, for the month of March the Ascension Parish Sheriff's Office reported six vehicle accidents, three thefts, zero armed robberies, zero simple robberies, two cancelled alarms, five residence alarms, seven business alarms, one narcotics complaint, two loud music complaints, 112 calls, three citations, and four adult arrests.

"Two things I like to see," Mayor Mike Lambert said. "No burglaries. For two months in a row we've had no burglaries and no armed robberies. We've went through the armed robbery season, which is Thanksgiving to New Year's. That shows officer presence. Good deal."

Next, Brent Alonzo was reappointed to the planning and zoning board. The board is made up of volunteers. Next, the council voted to authorize the mayor to sign a survey permit from Exxon pipeline to survey the land.

The council also opened a public hearing to adopt an amendment to sec. 2-191 of the code of ordinances, Purchasing and Disbursement policies to add the following: (5) Compliance Requirements for Projects Involving Disaster Recovery CDBG Funds. The public hearing drew no comments or questions, so the council voted to approve the amendment.

An item was added to discuss the blighted property of Nicholas Lewis. The council voted to authorize a grass cutting on the property.