LaPlace Woodland condo plan withdrawn

Published 12:00 am Monday, September 19, 2005

Neighborhood protestors plan to remain vigilant against development


Staff Reporter

LAPLACE — After several weeks of meetings, community protests and business decisions, the application to rezone 4.8 acres of land on Woodland Drive in LaPlace has been withdrawn.

The St. John Parish Council announced at their meeting Tuesday night that the application submitted by President of Landcraft Inc. Joey Scontrino was withdrawn.

“This is strictly a business decision,” Scontrino said. “After Hurricane Katrina, we have more issues to deal with and decided to take a breather. We felt we needed to do what was best for the business and be able to regroup. There was no pre-meditation to this, we just simply do not have the time to do that particular development.”

Parish Attorney Jeff Perrilloux said now that the application has been withdrawn he cannot present the same zoning request with the same plan for one year, but that he can present another zoning request for the same property, but with a different plan.

Even though the application has been withdrawn, area residents are still cautious.

“I’m happy the project won’t be built,” President of the Ridgewood Homeowners Association Dawn Simoneaux said. “However if he changes the project we could be right back at square one, fighting this thing all over. That worries me, but if we have to keep fighting, we will keep fighting.”

Scontrino said he has currently given no thought as whether or not he will change the plan or wait a year to present the same plan. He said he was focusing on what is best for his business right now.

“I’m not real sure what to think about all of this,” said LaPlace resident William Booth. “I was under the understanding that if he withdrew, he would have to wait a year to do anything and now I’m finding out that, that’s not actually the case. He can re-submit an application with some quote ‘significant changes,’ but we don’t know what these significant changes are.”

Booth said this area of land is right by a lot of nice homes and that none of the residents wasn’t multiple family dwelling there, but would be fine with a gated community of single-family homes.

Councilman Sean Roussel said Scontrino has his rights as well as the community.

“He decided to withdraw his application and it is his right to do so,” Roussel said. “If this comes up again, I will handle the situation the same way, because I gave the community a chance to voice their opinions, and I help them understand what the facts of the situation were. Landowners have rights and so do the public. I will do what the people I represent want me to do, but I will not vote on something that is not based on fact.”