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Abbeville officials discuss islands after Jury tables issue

After not finding a definitive answer from the Vermilion Parish Police Jury on Monday, Abbeville officials said on Tuesday they will continue to work to find a solution to an issue with an handful of “islands” that are within the city limits.
The islands are unincorporated areas completely surrounded by the city limits. An advertising company recently placed an
electronic billboard on one of those islands. That drew concern from some city officials, as the city does have an ordinance that prohibits such billboards.
Seeking some assistance from the police jury, as the islands fall under its jurisdiction, Mayor Mark Piazza, Councilman Brady Broussard Jr., Councilwoman Roslyn White and City Attorney Ike Funderburk attended Monday night’s police jury meeting.
“We had hoped that the police jury would adopt our sign and billboard ordinances,” Funderburk said during Tuesday’s regular city council meeting, “to be applied uniformly for the five inclosed islands.”
During its meeting on Monday, the police jury tabled the issue. Police Juror Scott Broussard, whose district includes the island with the electronic billboard on Park Avenue, said he will gather more information on the topic.
White, whose city district includes the area around the island with the billboard, said she is disappointed with Monday’s outcome.
“I was deeply upset by the lack of action,” White said during Tuesday’s meeting. “I found one study that showed if you live within 500 feet of a billboard, your property value can be decreased by up to $30,000.
“What you do on your property can affect your neighbors.”
White said she has spoken to people who live in that area.
“They want to write a letter to the police jury,” White said. “I would encourage them to do so.”
Councilman Francis Touchet Jr. said Tuesday that another year cannot go by with nothing being done in regard to these islands.
“We have to make this a priority,” Touchet said, “When we end this year, all of those islands have to be part of the city.”
During Tuesday’s meeting, Funderburk showed a binder full of research he has done on this subject. He said he could not go into more detail during Tuesday’s meeting, but encouraged members of the council to meet with him.
“We are going to keep with the open meetings law,” Funderburk said. “What I am suggesting is meeting with me, the mayor and one or two council members at a time. We can go over goals and objectives. I can give you the benefit of the research that I have done to this point.
“We need to move on this quickly, because sunlight is burning, folks. We don’t have much time to get things done.”

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