Residents of new subdivision disappointed in Hwy 73 property’s rezone to commercial

On February 12, 2014 the residential subdivision preliminary plat for The Hollows of Dutchtown was considered and approved by Ascension’s Planning Commission.  The unanimous commission did so over the objections of five citizens with property abutting the new development who voiced the all too familiar concerns about drainage and traffic impact; adding concerns over privacy being compromised by the 196-lot subdivision.  Last week saw 32 residents of The Hollows of Dutchtown oppose the application to rezone (to allow commercial) the 10 acres buffering their subdivision from Hwy 73.

A unanimous commission voted to recommend MU2 zoning to the Parish Council since any change to Ascension’s Zoning Map can only be done by ordinance.

NOTE:  None of the seven Planning Commissioners from that February 2014 meeting still serve on the commission.

Attorney for the applicants, Larry Buquoi explained that his clients sold the acreage which became that subdivision, always intending to seek Mixed Use zoning for that Hwy 73 frontage.  That is why the entrance to The Hollows is set back 600′ from the highly-traveled state highway 342′ north of Hwy 621.  Buquoi argued that parcels to the north and south along Hwy 73 are used for commercial purposes and retaining its current residential zoning classification would, effectively, take the ten acres out of the stream of commerce.

Ascension’s Planning Staff recommended denial of MU but approval of MU2.  What does the former permit that the latter does not?

  • Multi family residential, apartments
  • Cemeteries
  • Churches, clubs and fraternal organizations
  • Indoor amusement and entertainment facilities including, such as bowling alleys, gaming devices, billiard parlors, movie theaters
  • Outdoor amusement and entertainment facilities
  • Public utilities including equipment and supply storage
  • Transmission towers
  • Adult businesses
  • Auto and truck major repairs including such services as repair, reconditioning, painting, body and fender work, upholstering and seat covering
  • Auto and truck sales, rental
  • Auto service stations and car wash
  • Bars and lounges
  • Boat sales
  • Exterminating, fumigating, septic tank pumping, furnace cleaning
  • Funeral establishments/Crematorium
  • Kennels
  • Mini-warehouses
  • Mobile home and trailer sales
  • Monument sales
  • Hotels and motels
  • Sales and service of commercial and industrial supplies and equipment
  • Sales and storage of construction materials
  • Self-service laundries
  • Signs, off-site signs including billboards, panels and other advertising signs
  • Truck stops, including servicing and minor repairs, but excluding truck terminals and their storage warehouse
  • Light industrial Structures & Facilities
  • Dry-cleaning plant
  • Printing plants
  • Warehouses
  • Wholesale business and storage
  • Recycling collection centers

The Hollows’ residents were unmoved in as pure example of the (N)ot (I)n (M)y (B)ack (Y)ard principle as you are likely to witness.  A few of the speakers claimed to have heard that an unnamed potential purchaser intended to build apartments, specifically excluded in MU2 (see list above).  To a speaker they all urged denial of any rezone and retention of RM (Medium Intensity Residential) zoning.

Claiming to be the first resident of the subdivision, one speaker said that he had lived in The Hollows of Dutchtown for three years.  Commissioner Wade Schexnaydre, an Ascension resident for all of his 43 years, provided a brief history lesson about Hwy 73 and its transformation over the last two decades.  MU2 zoning was approved by a unanimous commission.

Welcome to Ascension Parish.

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