Evangeline Thruway residents outraged by eyesore firewood business

Lafayette Parish

LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) — A firewood business in Lafayette on the Evangeline Thruway is being asked to move after neighbors say it’s bringing in unwanted pests and lowering their property values.

Neighbors who live next door to the firewood shop are furious. It’s been a years-long battle for the owner to move his shop somewhere else. The city has been involved numerous times, but yet, the owner is still selling the wood, dubbing himself “the wood man.”

“I should not have to live like this,” said resident Kim Taylor.

“You have to have some food for the rats to come,” said business owner Travis Helaire.

“Well, you call it what you want,” said Taylor. “I shouldn’t have to live like this.”

Taylor has lived in this area for most of her life. The newest addition to the block? A business that isn’t even supposed to exist.

“What started out as a very small firewood business has now grown into a large business that was never approved,” said Fire Code Supervisor Forrest Chaisson. “My understanding from the zoning department is that this business is not zoned to operate in this neighborhood.”

The business is currently operating without an operating or an occupancy license. Plus, the land isn’t even zoned for commercial use, and neighbors are ready for it to go. They say it’s bringing rats and snakes, and even some areas to flood as drains are being blocked.

“Somebody needs to do something,” said resident Terry Taylor. “And what they need to do is have him move this to another location.”

The fire code inspector says there’s nothing he can do. Neither can the environmental code supervisor, which leaves the matter to the zoning commission.

“Name: “You clean it up but you bring it right back,” said resident John Babin. “So as far as we are concerned, the easiest and best thing for us is for you to conduct business somewhere else.”

The city is saying they’re planning to take action in January. Zoning officials are waiting for the city council to vote on new code enforcement laws, saying the process would take longer if they were to start acting now.

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