Owners say they will now be able to sell, lease property due to change
The St. Charles Parish Council unanimously voted to rezone a series of lots encompassing much of the west side of Paul Maillard Road closest to River Road and another lot on the east side, in spite of opposition from the Planning and Zoning Department.
A department spokesperson said it was obliged to recommend against approval due to its duty within the parish code and the failure of a three point test of the proposal, but suggested that the parish had “other tools” to meet the development goals.
“While we do have a recommendation for denial, there are other ways to look at this in order to context this to planning,” Planning and Zoning Director Michael Albert told the council.
Owners of the properties that were rezoned said they have had to turn away offers to buy or lease their businesses due to being zoned C-2. According to four land owners, a C-3 designation would have allowed the buyers to suit the property to their needs.
According to code, C-3 zoning permits all the uses of a C-2 zoned property, and a number of other uses. These uses include warehouses, gymnasiums, motor vehicle repair and dog pounds.
“C-2 classification doesn’t encompass the needs of the buyers,” said property owner Robert Monti. “We’d need to get special use permits.”
Of the four property owners named in the rezoning initiative, three showed up to speak in favor of the proposal.
Councilman Billy Woodruff also spoke in favor of the project, stating that the Paul Maillard revitalization plan would be placed in jeopardy if these lots could not be rezoned.
“It would be a waste of time and money not to pass this,” Woodruff said.
The revitalization plan has focused on sites closer to River Road, which is where the rezoned properties reside. A $600,000 grant funded the study into the revitalization effort, with the parish identifying four potential sites, including an area near River Road, the Winwood Shopping Center and a piece of land on Angus Drive owned by the Archdiocese of New Orleans.
Councilman Terrell Wilson disagreed with Woodruff, stating that he also sat on the committee that analyzed ways to revitalize Paul Maillard. He said the proposal was “not a deal maker or deal breaker” for the revitalization project.
Wilson then asked property owner Joey Bosco to commit to building the proper fencing required to protect neighboring homeowners from Bosco’s business property, whether or not required by law, including allowing 10 feet of buffer space with an adequate fence between new developments and neighboring properties.
“Sure,” Bosco told Wilson, “’cause right now, we can’t do nothing [with the property].”