Venice Responders Village receives emergency permitJun 18th, 2010 | By Terri Sercovich | Category: news
BP representative Robert Bruant and a local contractor of BP, JD Futch, appeared before the Plaquemines Parish Council last week, seeking a somewhat retroactive construction permit.
Thirty-two acres in Venice has already been cleared in order to construct “Venice Responders Village,” which will have its own medical center and will house an estimated 2,000 people involved with clean up efforts.
“Because of the dispersant agent they’re using, (the oil) sunk and is rolling in,” Futch told the council to stress the need for clean up crews. “Now you’re talking about an army. Our biggest problem right now is that we have no where for them to stay.”
Last week’s council meeting was the first time councilmembers were informed of the plan. Council members resented the lack of respect for local permitting processes. Marla Cooper, representative of District 9, the location of the village, was especially vocal.
“You did everything else, but disregarded the government,” she told Bruant.
The tract of land is actually the second location considered. The first was Lot 48 in the Venice Port Complex, which is owned by Rene Cross, Bruant said.
However, the size could not accommodate the expected workforce. Bruant said while driving on Highway 23, he saw a “For Lease” sign and contacted owner George Pivach directly.
The timing put the council and the permits department under undue pressure.
Permits, Planning & Zoning superintendent Mike Metcalf said that the operation would have to be shut down without an emergency permit granted by the council.
Cooper said her attention was raised when property owners adjacent to the Pivach land brought concerns to her that she could neither answer nor call the correct BP contact for answers.
“We’re not going to play hard ball with BP, but we do need better communication than we’ve been getting,” said Councilman Burghart Turner, District 6.
The council issued a six month temporary permit immediately following the discussion.
Cooper insisted that adjacent property owners still receive notification of the project, which is normally done before the permit approval.
Futch informed the council that all clean up crew members will have background checks and the Plaquemines Parish Sheriff’s Office will have a list of their names and personal information before they are able to work in the parish.