Watson residents opposed to new housing development

Site where new housing in Watson will be, on Fore Road
Site where new housing in Watson will be, on Fore Road

WATSON, LA (WAFB) - A plan to put a new subdivision in Watson is back on the table. It's already failed once, and neighbors say if this plan passes, their homes would be ruined.

Lloyd Rhodus says when he moved to Fore Road 36 years ago, there was nothing around him. The two lane road in front of his house was far less traveled and he was surrounded by trees and pasture land. He says he moved away from the city, choosing the quietness of the country. But now it seems the city feel might be catching up to him and moving next door.

"Neighbors started calling me and saying hey what is this, what's going on over here. What's with this Dorian Gray development?" said parish councilman Jim Norred. The proposed development falls in his district.

Dorian Gray has owned this property for six years. He lives in California but says he plans to move to the area.

By phone Gray said he is trying to sell the lots, but it would be up to local builders to decide what gets built on the land.

Councilman Jim Norred says that plan is already in the works.

"He told us there would be $200,000 homes there," Norred said. That was the story he says Gray told the Planning Commission. But he says that changed. "Homes would be 11,000 square feet. So he could sell as many lots as possible, 50 feet wide, 140 deep. That's pretty small. And they'd have what's called a zero wall. Means you butt right up to other house on one side." Norred says that's small enough that a person could reach over to their neighbor and grab a cup of coffee, without leaving their front porch.

He also adds, there's no drainage or sewer to handle the 137 proposed homes.

"It's in a wetlands, also in flood zone. Which means going to have to raise property up and that's got people on the side worried about it."

That's where Lloyd Rhodus comes in. Rhodus says the 54 acres beside and behind his house brings on concerns of flooding.

"I dug this ditch you see out here, to drain my property. But when it gets high back there, it comes through my property and builds it up," said Rhodus.

Both men say there's no shortage of homes in the area. Rhodus says there are two to three subdivision in the area that do not have houses built. Norred says there are foreclosed homes in the area for sale. So with homes already on the market, there's no need for a new development.

"They really don't care. All they looking for is the money out of it," said Rhodus.

The council will here more on the Watson Heights project in March.

Copyright 2012 WAFB. All rights reserved.