Mr. John Bohning is in the process of developing land on the corner of LA Hwy 22 and Masion Lafitte at the entrance to the Villages of Bocage subdivision to open a new supermarket.
Here are some things to consider in determining if the Bedico Supermarket will be a good addition to our community.
Bedico is growing at an astronomical rate. When the subdivisions that many of us live in were under development there were many voices who spoke out in opposition to the development. Development came and as a result we live in a wonderful parish with low property taxes and nearly nonexistent crime. Bedico will continue to grow and that is a good thing for all of us. But we must be able to control that growth to protect our community.
Tangipahoa Parish currently does not have any zoning in unincorporated areas of the parish. Several years ago the idea of zoning was brought up by the Parish Council. The citizens of Tangipahoa Parish, at that time, were overwhelmingly against zoning. Because the parish does not currently have any zoning it is very difficult, nearly impossible, to deny a property owner the right to develop and build on his/her property as they see fit. I was informed that any denial based on anything other than a violation of current laws could be challenged in court and the court would likely side with the property owner.
With the fact that Tangipahoa Parish does not currently have zoning laws, if Mr. Bohning were not build a local neighborhood supermarket at that location, what would be built there? Here are some possibilities; a bar room, a strip mall where the property owner decides who to rent to, a Walmart neighborhood supermarket with a gas station, a rouses, a Winn Dixie, a gas station such as Racetrac. As you can see the possibilities are endless. And if the parish were to deny any of these major corporation’s access to our community without a legal reason they would file a court action, and likely win.
Mr. Bohning has opened supermarkets in Robert and Loranger. I have spoken to residents of both about their thoughts on the supermarkets. The responses were all positive and many emphasized that the supermarket has been a great addition to their community.
I realize that there are some concerns about the fuel tanks being located so close to the water well head. The federal regulatory agencies have no prohibitions regarding how close an underground fuel tank can be located to a public water well head. The state of Louisiana regulatory agencies requires such tanks to be at least one hundred fifty feet from a public water well head. The proposed tanks will be placed well beyond the state requirement. The tanks that will be used have an early detection system for leaks. If a leak were to occur the tanks have additional walls that would contain any leaks and prevent the fuel from entering the environment. In addition, Mr. Bohning has agreed to post a million dollar plus bond to be used in case of the unlikely event of leak into the soil.
Until Tangipahoa Parish passes zoning ordinances one the best ways for us as a community to protect the quality of our neighborhood is to welcome local business owners who have a desire and demonstrate they want to be a positive part of our community’s growth and quality of life. In my opinion Mr. Bohning has that desire and is demonstrating that desire through his agreements to go above and beyond what is legally required by the federal government, the state government, and the parish.
Bedico is the border between Tangipahoa parish and St. Tammany Parish. While St. Tammany parish has a flourishing property and sales tax base that provides ample resources to fund its schools, roads, Sheriff’s Office, fire department, and other parish services; Tangipahoa parish is not similarly situated. While our parish government organizations are being good stewards of the people’s money, with the growth in Bedico that is occurring more revenue will be needed. There are two ways to provide that revenue. The first is increased sales tax revenue and the other is increased property tax revenue. Property tax revenue is increased in one of two ways, raising millage rates or developing property. I prefer new development over increased rates, low property tax rates was just one factor in why my family chose Bedico. The increased tax revenues that will be created by the Bedico supermarket will help fund the school board to accommodate the growth, it will help the TPSO provide even better services than it already does, it will help fund our 8th ward fire department which is drastically underfunded, it will provide funds to aid in parish road maintenance.
This is the kind of business neighbor I want and I hope after careful thought and consideration everyone will agree that the Bedico Supermarket is a positive addition to our community. I look forward to hearing from everyone about their thoughts both for and against the Bedico Supermarket and the reasoning for those thoughts. It is through conversation and considered thought and dialog that we will continue to grow our community that maintains our quality of life here in the Bedico and Robert areas.
I look forward to hearing from everyone. I can be emailed at [email protected]