Pelican Crossing deferred, Pryor bids farewell to two Planning Commissioners

Planning Commission [file photo]

The applicant for a Major Revision to Pelican Crossing subdivision, Phases 4-6 pulled the request from Wednesday’s Planning Commission agenda after the developers of Antebellum Point had done so one day earlier.  That makes it 16 months and counting since the last subdivision preliminary plat approval for a development which will actually be built.

That would be The Villas at Rosewood, a 54-townhome development on 8 acres in Councilman Dempsey Lambert’s District 5.

Evelyn Estates received unanimous approval for 43 lots on 24.75 acres north of Cornerview Road, half-a-mile east of Hwy 73 (Council District 8-Teri Casso) in May 2019.  Oppressive conditions imposed by the commission, a roundabout at Cornerview Rd/Chester Diez Rd rendered it cost prohibitive and Evelyn Estates will never be built.  It did not appear on a 14 subdivision synopsis of subdivisions presented by the Planning Staff on Wednesday.

We’ll review the status of those projects in the coming days.

Planning Commission appointments

Chairman Matthew Pryor, in his opening remarks, bade farewell to Commissioners Morrie Bishop (eight years on the commission) and Tony Christy (four years).  Their appointments expired on February 8 along with Commissioners Julio Dumas and Aaron Chaisson.

It has been the custom for planning commissioners to serve beyond expiration of their two year appointments until replacements are named by the Parish Council.  More often than not commissioners are reappointed.

Last night’s session was “likely their last meeting,” Chairman Pryor said of Bishop and Christy.  The Council Personnel Committee, chaired by newly-inaugurated Councilman Michael Mason, has yet to recommend Planning Commission appointees to the council for 2020.  Given Pryor’s comments it would appear that Dumas and Chaisson are applying for another term.

Since the beginning of 2015 there have been 40 subdivision preliminary plats decided by the Planning Commission.  Morrie Bishop voted to deny one, Brookstone in February 2016.  (Admittedly “pro-development” Matthew Pryor joined him and former commissioner Jackie Callender in a 3-1 vote).  The denial of Brookstone would be overturned by a three-member Planning Commission Appeals Board on April 18, 2016.

Subsequently, that Appeals Board was abolished by the Parish Council (another of former Councilman Daniel “Doc” Satterlee’s accomplishments as Strategic Planning’s chairman).  Since early 2017 the council doubles as the Appeals Board.

Tony Christy was first appointed to the commission in March 2016.  24 subdivision preliminary plats have been considered since he was seated, with Christy voting to deny five of them.  He opposed both phases of Jamestown Crossing in May 2018, in the minority both times.  Three times Christy was in the majority when the commission denied subdivisions; Amalfi Cove (December 2018), Oakbourne (October 2016), and Oak Grove Townhouses (November 2017).

Only Amalfi Cove failed to have its initial denial overturned, developer Ross Berthelot did not file an appeal.  Oakbourne, along with Camellia Cove, were the last appeals considered by the former three-man appeals board.  Both denials were overturned in December 2016.

It was Tony Christy who changed his vote, from denial in November 2017 to approval in March 2018, which resulted in Oak Grove Townhouses’ ultimate approval.