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Council postpones action on daycare zoning again

LEONARD GRAY / L’Observateur / August 31, 1998

LAPLACE – Once more, the proposed daycare center issue at 640 West Fifth Street, LaPlace, remains unsettled. The St. John the Baptist ParishCouncil, at Councilman Nickie Monica’s request, postponed action this week.

Next up for the proposal by Betty Zeno Franklin and Geri Broussard- Baloney is a return trip to the Planning and Zoning Commission and yet another visit to the Parish Council, in special meetings on Sept. 1 at 6 p.m.and 7 p.m., respectively.At issue is the development of a special-use permit amendment to the parish’s zoning ordinance, which would allow specific special uses in a zoning district.

In this case, Franklin and Baloney want the site, now zoned residential, rezoned to a C-3 commercial zone where daycare centers would fall.

Failing that notion, the developers want a “special dispensation” to allow for a daycare center in a residential zone.

Peggy Mire noted a C-3 zoning would allow the site to become “a barroom, a grocery, an auto mechanic shop” under that classification, should the daycare center go out of business.

Lucien Gauff Jr. said he did not oppose a special-use permit or a daycarecenter but pointed out: “Where do we draw the line?” as to allowing commercial development in a residential area.

The matter was postponed to the next meeting, after revisiting the Planning and Zoning Commission, then to return to the Parish Council at its Sept. 22 meeting.Opponents vehemently oppose rezoning any residential site on West Fifth Street to commercial and, later in the meeting, again fought to block a proposed mini-mall at West Fifth and Acorn streets.

Eldridge Bartholomew, developer of the proposed mini-mall, wants to locate a delicatessen, barber shop and check-cashing service at the site.

However, discussion derailed when it was announced Bartholomew wished to withdraw his application.

Frustrated neighbors, in attendance to speak against the application, wondered what the outcome of this action would be. With a simpleacceptance of the withdrawal, Bartholomew could enter a new application in 90 days. With a Parish Council vote to deny the application, however,Bartholomew would be blocked from entering a new application for one year.

“They’re waiting for a special-use permit,” neighbor Carol Keating commented.

“That wouldn’t apply to this,” Parish Councilman Duaine Duffy responded.

Yet another zoning matter snarled Parish Council discussion, as Riverlands Christian Center’s application to rezone a portion of its property from I-1 (light industrial) to C-3 (heavy commercial) to allow for a daycare center in Reserve.

The site is next door to the church at 123 Redemption Way in Cornland Plantation subdivision. Mire said according to her research, the site iszoned R-1 (single-family residential) and not industrial. Planning DirectorLaurette Thymes retorted the maps were not up to date and she has documentation to prove her point.

Parish Councilman Joel McTopy commented, “If it is I-1, you’d be better off with a C-3.”The application was approved unanimously.

Finally, the Parish Council approved rezoning for a 65,700-square-foot site behind the Wendy’s Restaurant on U.S. 51 near Interstate 10.According to developer Kevin Patel of Cajun Lodging Inc., a hotel will startconstruction by the end of the year at the site.

Patel continued, “Hotels are our business,” and added it will be a “first- class” operation, affiliated with a national chain, such as Marriott or Hampton Court. However, that has not been finalized, he said.Patel said he currently owns and operates small hotels in St. CharlesParish, including the Southern Inn, Boutte, and the A-1 Hotel, Paradis.

In other business, the Parish Council noted part-time jobs are available with the U.S. Census Bureau, with pay rates at $9-10.50 per hour. For moreinformation, phone Louisiana Job Service at 652-3471.

Also, people wanting tree limbs and large appliances picked up should phone 652-4815 or 536-4274, between 7 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Forguaranteed, same-day pickup, residents should phone before noon.

Public Works Director Greg Bush commented, “I’ve committed myself to it.”

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