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Lafayette Council Approves Comprehensive Plan

Lafayette Comprehensive Plan, Facebook

The Lafayette Comprehensive Plan is set in stone after it earned final approval from the council Tuesday night.

The body voted 6-3 to approve a resolution supporting the plan. Council members Jared Bellard, District 5; Andy Naquin, District 6; and William Theriot, District 9, voted against it.

Theriot raised concerns about the plan’s failure to address drainage issues in the parish, along with its focus on a Unified Development Code, which has been listed as a top priority for the action portion of the plan.

"It’s a living, breathing document. It’s gonna change, and it’s always gonna change after public input, because it’s the public’s plan."

“There’s a lot of micromanaging in dealing with land use regulations,” he said.

District 2 Council Member Jay Castille will serve as liaison for those redeveloping the UDC — which Chief Development Officer Kevin Blanchard said is “antiquated” and has been in operation since the 1960s.

Theriot also raised questions about the language in the resolution, which originally stated “successful implementation of PlanLafayette will require the (council), on occasion, to adopt by ordinance or resolution certain actionable items as necessary.”

The council voted 5-4 to amend the resolution and exclude the language in question, with Castille; Kevin Naquin, District 1; Donald Bertand, District 7; and Keith Patin, District 8 voting against the amendment.

City-Parish Attorney Mike Hebert assured the council the amendment would have “no material effect” on the resolution. Blanchard said “successful implementation of the plan” will require the council to vote on more than 400 action items.

Now that the council has approved the plan, it can’t be altered. But council members can go directly to the city’s planning and zoning department if there’s something they wish to change, and the process to alter the plan will move forward from there.

District 3 Council Member Brandon Shelvin said he didn’t support an area of the plan that addressed the Lafayette Parish School System’s Turnaround Plan, because the current board no longer supports it, he said. District 4 Council Member Kenneth Boudreaux urged the plan’s enactors to keep its leadership community-based.

Blanchard said the plan will “reopen” every five years.

“It’s a living, breathing document,” Blanchard said. “It’s gonna change, and it’s always gonna change after public input, because it’s the public’s plan.”

Fourteen people signed in but didn’t speak during public comment: 13 wrote in favor of the plan, and one person opposed it.

Lafayette resident Ross Little Jr. addressed the council and said he opposed the plan, because he counted “at least 18 tax-and-spend” proposals throughout the plan.

Blanchard said the plan includes no taxation, but it urges Lafayette Consolidated Government to revisit how it spends tax dollars so they can be distributed “more efficiently.”

The five people who spoke and urged the council to support the plan represented the Downtown Development Authority, Downtown Lafayette Unlimited and one Lafayette resident, realtor Flo Meadows.

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