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Lafayette Council Rejects Foster Park Ordinance, Overrides Joey Durel Veto Of Camper Ban

Lafayette Consolidated Government Building
Lafayette Consolidated Government Building, KPEL

LAFAYETTE, La. (KPEL) – An ordinance that would have sought to transfer the operation of Foster Park in Youngsville by Lafayette Consolidated Government to that city failed on introduction to the Lafayette City-Parish Council. A portion of the park would also have been given to the Lafayette Parish School System, which is experiencing overcrowding in that area of the parish.

Members of the Broussard Youngsville Youth Association, who uses the park for its athletic and recreational events, expressed some hesitance with the structure of the ordinance but did not necessarily oppose the measure.

The decision came after back-and-forth questions with members of BYYA, Youngsville Mayor Wilson Viator, and others.

Board Chairman Brandon Shelvin, District 3, questioned why no member of the school system was in attendance at the meeting since the ordinance was something of extreme importance to that body. A portion of Foster Park would have been given to the school system in the agreement to allow for the expansion of Green T. Lindon Elementary, which the Lafayette Parish School Board plans to discuss at its regular meeting Wednesday night.

Council member Kevin Naquin, District 1, took up that cry, calling on the council to maintain operational ownership of the park.

There were some questions as to what Youngsville could have done with the property had the ordinance passed. Council attorney Mike Hebert suggested that a state parks department interpretation of federal law required that any reduction in the size of Foster Park must be offset elsewhere in the city.

But council member Kenneth Boudreaux, District 4, said his conversations with the same department revealed that any use of existing property at the park must be used for outdoor recreational purposes, even if portions of the park were handed to the school system.

The measure ultimately failed on a 2 to 7 vote.

Council members also voted tonight to override a veto from Lafayette City-Parish President Joey Durel on an ordinance that places restrictions on the use of recreational park vehicles as permanent homes in the unincorporated areas of Lafayette Parish.

Boudreaux said since the ordinance was introduced by the administration, the administration should have made sure it was presented to the council free of any issues. The council voted at its last regular meeting to adopt the ordinance, but Durel vetoed the measure.

“What I received on that evening was, ‘We need this,’” Boudreaux said. “If we need to fix it, let’s fix it. But if things are vetoed that came from the administration, that gives a sense that the council itself was not aware of what was going on.”

Chief Administrative Officer Dee Stanley characterized the veto as a “friendly veto.”
“In retrospect, I think the administration would have preferred that the ordinance be pulled,” Stanley said.

“I have a hard time with ‘friendly vetoes,’” said Jay Castille, District 2. “I say override, get rid of it, get back to the table.”

Castille said an amended version of the ordinance could be ready for the next council meeting; that version would address some of the concerns pointed out by the Durel administration and residents. Residents raised concerns at prior meetings that the trailers lower property values in neighborhoods.

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