Buzzard Roost preliminary plat approval rescinded

Grady Melancon [l] with his attorney, Dwight Poirrier after Riverton subdivision Planning Commission hearing [2016]

It is not very often that a preliminary plat, already approved, is rescinded but that is just what happened on Wednesday to Buzzard Roost (Industrial Park)’s 1st Filing.  Six months having elapsed since the January 13 videoconference approval without construction drawings having been submitted, the plat is automatically rescinded unless the Planning Commission decides to extend.  Developer Grady Melancon having indicated his abject refusal to comply with the commission-imposed conditions, it’s just as well.

The longtime developer smells blood in the water; the opportunity to have Ascension taxpayers pick up the tab for a road through his development from Hwy 30 to Cornerview Road or some point north to access a potential I-10 interchange.  That is according to multiple elected officials opting for anonymity so as not to be gobbled up by one of the parish’s biggest land sharks.

December 2017 vote to rezone Buzzard Roost’s 300+ acres from Conservation to Industrial,

To hear the whispers it is Council Chairwoman Teri Casso and her hand-picked chair of the Transportation Committee, Councilman Aaron Lawler, who have floated the idea to pay for Melancon’s road.

On Wednesday, represented by Quality Engineers’ Deric Murphy, Melancon indicated that a new preliminary plat would be forthcoming for the Planning Commission’s consideration.  What was it about the January approval he found wanting?  According to Planning Director Jerome Fournier:

“The preliminary plat is the 1st filing of an anticipated larger industrial development. The 1st filing consists of +/-121.75 acres containing 48 lots ranging in size from 1 acre to 8.7 acres.”  The plat approval was subject to eight conditions, among them are two which “present a problem for Mr. (Grady) Melancon…

  1. There be no open ditches, with the street section containing curb and gutter.  Mr. Melancon has expressed his refusal to comply with this request and that he be allowed to proceed with the variance for the open ditch street section submitted.
  2. The developer shall have alleys along the rear of these commercial parcels to enhance circulation, denying the waiver request.  (Refused for same reason stated above).

No doubt, Melancon probably figures he’s got Ascension Parish over a barrel and is attempting to dictate terms.  The acreage upon which Buzzard Roost sits has indeed been targeted as “the proposed Louisiana DOTD corridor connecting Hwy 30 and the future I-10 interchange.”

It would not be the first time Melancon has evaded Ascension’s development code and/or commission mandates.

Riverton Subdivision plat conditions are clear; what is there to review?

And it probably will not be the last.

On June 8 the Planning Commission rejected Buzzard Roost’s Major Revision seeking to escape the requirements to build curb and gutter roads, and alleys parallel to the development’s commercial parcels.