Airline Motors restoration project still in air

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 4, 2004

By SUE ELLEN ROSS Staff Reporter

LAPLACE – A rezoning issue for property along Airline Highway was to be discussed at the St. John Public Library on Monday. But things didn’t go as planned.

The meeting, arranged by Councilman Sean Roussel, was to include developer Gus Treme and residents opposed to the rezoning.

The land for his project needs to be zoned Industrial; it is currently Residential/Commercial.

The proposed project would include a restaurant; truckstop; casino; and convenience store.

Plans also include remodeling and expanding the current building that used to house Airline Motors Restaurant.

Those living near the area are worried about noise, drainage and other concerns.

To that end, they put together a petition signed by 309 residents and sent it to The Planning and Zoning Commission.

The Commission tabled Treme’s request at their Jan. 21 meeting.

At that time, they suggested the developer and the residents come together to discuss concerns, hence Monday’s meeting at the library.

Approximately 50 residents attended. Treme did not.

Roussel told the audience that he had talked with Treme on Jan. 30

“I told him that as long as the community felt the way they did (opposed to the development), that I could not support it,” he said.

“My understanding is that he is walking away. He said he was going to ‘let it go’ and would not attend this meeting.”

Residents asked Roussel the status of the rezoning request as far as the Planning and Zoning Commission is concerned.

Adrienne Labat, Director of Planning and Zoning, was in the audience and answered the question.

She said that advertisements for the next Commission meeting on Jan. 16 had already gone out, and the request is still valid.

Since it was originally tabled at last month’s meeting, it can be brought back on the table and voted on.

If the request is denied, the developer would have to wait one year to re-submit.

Treme said on Tuesday that he did not want to develop any project that would be detrimental to the area.

“I would never, never do anything against the residents of LaPlace,” he said. “I wouldn’t do it (development) if its not beneficial to the Parish and the people.”

Roussel urged the residents to attend the next Planning and Zoning Commission meeting to see what happens with the request.

That meeting is scheduled at 6:30 p.m., Monday, in the St, John Parish Council Chambers, Percy Herbert Building, LaPlace.