P & Z Commission recommends approval of 60-condominium SPUD at Hwy 42/44

Lakes at Henderson Bayou site map

Ascension’s seven seat Planning/Zoning Commission is down to five as Wade Schexnaydre cast his final vote on Wednesday.  He was in the minority as a 4-2 margin recommended approval of the Small Planned Unit Development (SPUD), The Lakes at Henderson Bayou’s “60 two-story condominium units with approximately 66,120 square footage of building space.”  As with any SPUD, the commission’s vote is merely a recommendation to th Parish Council which has the final say so.

The subject property is a 4.74 acre tract “located on the west side of Hwy 44 and about .16 miles south of Hwy 42…Currently it is vacant land with a Cellular Tower, surrounded by a Daycare Center, Cell Tower, and Single Family dwellings.”  Sura Family, LLC is the applicant and staff recommends approval of the SPUD.

From applicant’s Traffic Impact Statement:

The Lakes at Henderson Bayou is expected to cause minimal impacts on Hwy 44 and the adjacent intersections as it is expected to generate fewer than 40 trips in a peak hour.  The proposed access will provide adequate sight distance for left and right turn movements when exiting the driveway.

Given the paucity of trips projected, a Threshold 1 Traffic Impact Study is called for (according to Quality Engineering) to satisfy Ascension’s Policy:

  • Proposed trip generation and distribution
  • Source of trip generation information
  • Sight distance evaluation

Ascension’s Engineering Review Agency offered no comment preparatory to the meeting, and CSRS’ Shaun Sherrow had nothing to say on Wednesday.  One glaring omission from the impact statement, what is the Level of Service on the impacted roadways?

No one bothered to ask that question either as the commission’s entire deliberation took 44 seconds.  It consisted of Commissioner Julio Dumas’ motion to recommend approval, an immediate second by Commissioner Ken Firmin followed by a roll call vote.

Wade Schexnaydre’s departure is a blow to every citizen frustrated by the Planning/Zoning Commission’s perceived pro-development posture.  Along with Commissioner Aaron Chaisson, he has asked the tough questions and cast more denial votes than the entire commission had done over the preceding decade.  Worse yet, Chaisson is a candidate for the Division B seat on the 23rd Judicial District Court bench and would have to give up his seat if elected.

That election is scheduled for November 3.

Losing them both could be a reversion to the days when the commission was a rubber-stamp of approval for every subdivision preliminary plat; nothing more, nothing less.

The Parish Council Personnel Committee interviewed potential replacements for Schexnaydre and another vacancy earlier this month.  The spots should be filled in the next few weeks.