Appeals court hears arguments on legality of Lake Martin swamp tour business

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(Champagne’s Cajun Swamp Tours)

LAKE CHARLES, La. (KLFY)- An appeal filed the St. Martin Parish Council in an effort to overturn a district judge’s decision favoring a business on Lake Martin will be heard by a Third Circuit panel over the next few weeks.

The first hearing was scheduled for Tuesday.

According to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, a decision could be handed down within six to eight weeks.

The St. Martin Parish Council made the decision to file an appeal in May, 2019, after Judge Keith Comeaux denied an injunction against Bryan Champagne, owner of Champagne’s Cajun Swamp Tours and the Wharf on Lake Martin.

Both businesses, which popular stops for tourists, are located along Rookery Road in Lake Martin.

St. Martin Parish Government filed the motion against the business owner in 2016.

The parish alleges that Champagne was operating in violation of parish zoning regulations.

St. Martin Parish President Chester Cedars said Tuesday’s hearing was well attended by members of the public.

“There is a great deal of interest in this case,” Cedars told News 10. “It demonstrates that this area is very special and people are very passionate about protecting it.”

St. Martin Parish is arguing that Champagne violated Article 9, which protects natural resources.

Cedars added that the suit claims both businesses, which include docks and boat rentals, are operating on land not zoned for commercial use.

News 10 will update this story as arguments in the Third Circuit continue.

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