The St. Charles Parish Planning Commission unanimously rejected the 121-lot Heather Oaks Subdivision proposed for Luling.
More than 100 residents from communities, including Willowdale and Lakewood, neighboring the proposed 52-acre site (currently a wooded area) packed the Council Chambers at the parish courthouse Thursday (Sept. 6) raising concerns, including hurting property value, traffic congestion, drainage issues and school overcrowding in a near two-hour discussion about the project.
Among them was Parish Sheriff Greg Champagne, who said he was one of the first residents on Beaupre Drive near the site, who asked the commission to table the project to allow more time to review it. Like other residents in the area, Champagne said the proposed project should have lots and homes that more closely match neighboring ones.
“We need to know what will happen down the road,” he added.
Tommy Faucheux of Luling, who spoke on behalf of residents, also cited numerous unanswered questions about the project and asked it be tabled. Faucheux also maintained he requested, but was denied a meeting with the developer.
Cliff Guidry, president of Guidry Land Development of Lafayette, and project consultants, Danny and Julie Hebert, told commissioners the project meets requirements and showed a rendering of the community. They outlined the subdivision design in Powerpoint presentations, which showed the planned custom houses would be in the $210,000 to $260,000 price range with brick and stucco facades. DSLD was to be the builder.
“There’s a need in this community for these type homes,” Julie Hebert said in response to residents maintaining the lots were not comparable to theirs in size and anticipated housing quality. Hebert added, “It’s a $30 million investment in our community.”
But the group remained firm in demanding more time to review the project or the commission reject it.
Councilwoman Mary Clulee, who represents the area, said she met with the project developer at his request, but wasn’t invited to a neighborhood meeting about the project. Clulee said she was concerned about the retention pond planned with the subdivision, adding, the parish would not take it over. As representative of existing and future residents of these proposed homes, she wanted to clarify plans for the subdivision.
Faucheux said anyone could come to their neighborhood meeting and no one was turned away.
Commissioner Jason Richard said, “I’m against the pond 100 percent.” He added he was concerned over who would maintain the pond if the builder went bankrupt.
Danny Hebert replied no pond means more lots.
Commissioner Randy Petit Jr. maintained, “There’s a lot of unanswered questions. Would you be willing to meet with residents?”
Petit added, “I just don’t think this subdivision fits where it’s proposed as currently designed.”
Danny Hebert said they’d discussed the project with residents and wanted a vote that night.
“We feel we meet or exceed the requirements,” Hebert said. “We ask for an up or down vote.”
The commission rejected the project.