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Community demands company clean up its act

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POSTED: Monday, November 21, 2011 - 10:07pm

UPDATED: Tuesday, November 22, 2011 - 10:05am

On the outskirts of the Glen Oaks neighborhood looms the J.B. James Construction Company, an unwelcome resident, who neighbors have lodged several complaints against for concrete dust particles that rain down on everything from fruit trees, to vehicles.

"We've broken no laws, violated no laws," said Jeff James, owner of J.B. James.

James is quick to point out that of several complaints and investigations done by the Department of Environmental Quality, no violations have been found at the site.

"Doesn't mean that DEQ cannot be erroneous, or DPW cannot be erroneous or Planning and Zoning cannot drop the ball," said State Senator Sharon Weston Broome, who represents the area. "Somebody dropped the ball. I'm convinced of that."

At a public meeting Monday, Senator Weston Broome and other elected officials, joined residents who live near the North Baton Rouge site, and said even though no laws were broken, something must be done.

"We're extremely concerned about this and we know there's validity to what these people are saying," Senator Weston Broome said.

The construction site was approved for a zoning change to allow light industrial work back in 2009. A move residents said came without proper warning, and should have never been approved in the first place.

"Failure on the part of Planning and Zoning for this to happen," said Otis Parker, who lives in the nearby neighborhood. "That's why you don't mix residential and commercial, so you don't have these issues."

A committee was set up after Monday's meeting, made up of residents and government officials, to try and find a compromise solution to the problem. The owner of J.B. James said at the meeting that he wants to be a good partner with the community.

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