Planning Commissioner Julio Dumas, who never met a subdivision developer whose pocket he wouldn’t dive into, admitted retaliating against the owner of an existing mobile home park at the commission’s April 11, 2018 meeting. What would you expect from a guy capable of throwing eight colleagues under the bus in 2011 when a former Parish Council abolished a 9-member commission, seeking an easier deck to stack in the form of a five-member body. Dumas and his partner in crime (figuratively speaking but not by much), Planning Chairman Matthew Pryor bend over backwards every month to give the developer du jour whatever it asks for.
Family Court, locally owned, is just a mobile home park situated off Weber City Rd for several decades; not a sparkling new, floodplain filling, traffic nightmare-inducing subdivision built by some out of parish developer they love so well. Take, for instance, Oak Lake.
It’s a subdivision springing up across Hwy 44 from Conway subdivision. The latter lies within the City of Gonzales while Oak Lake is in unincorporated Ascension Parish.
Oak Lake’s developer, DR Horton is responsible for numerous subdivisions transforming rural north Ascension into exurbia, with all its worst features. Dumas never, not ever, holds DR Horton to anything like accountability for the worsening traffic and drainage that come with each of its developments. The company agreed to construction of an additional lane of travel on Hwy 44, requiring a right-of-way grant to Louisiana DOTD within 90 days of Final Plat approval; which did not happen.
According to Jake Lambert, DR Horton’s engineer, it was due to DOTD regulations though, until the condition is met Phase II building permits will be withheld by the Planning Department. They can start on Phase I.
Not a big deal. Just extend the period by six months and have Lambert come back. If six months is insufficient extend the period again, just like the owner of Family Court mobile home park had to do when agreed upon conditions took time to fulfill.
Dumas, unsurprisingly, wanted to waive the condition entirely because he is in the bag for development just like the Parish Council members who appointed him.
“We’re holding an RV park to some pretty long and lengthy conditions,” Commissioner Wade Schexnaydre argued for consistent treatment of applicants (all applicants). “If they say they can do six months, I’d prefer to keep that stipulation and ask them to come back within six months.”
Dumas, not caring a whit for precedent or fair treatment across the board, responded:
“I would not compare this project with a mobile home park that went way out of its way to offend its adjoining property owners. Which is why they were dealt with the way they were.”
Since when has Julio Dumas cared one iota for the plight of adjoining property owners affected by new development? Were his greasy palms insufficiently lubricated by Family Court’s owner who wanted to add a dozen or so lots to an existing park?
Commissioner Aaron Chaisson is an attorney who understands precedent. He responded to Dumas:
“We shouldn’t have granted the Final Plat until the right-of-way dedication took place. The justification used to allow the extension was the amount of time we had given that mobile home park.”
Handicapped by the absence of his partner (Chairman Pryor), Dumas did not have the votes. So Oak Lake was treated just like Family Court was; no better, no worse.