On Wednesday the City of Gonzales’ Planning Commission took up a request to annex approximately three acres, situated in the southeast corner of the intersection of Hwy 44 and Hwy 941. The Special Meeting was convened two days after a regular meeting, one month after a unanimous commission had rejected the request. Ultimately, the decision wrests with a newly-configured city council but the commission’s recommendation has held sway historically.
On Monday the City Council is set to introduce the ordinance whereby the Pendarvis acreage could become part of the city.
On Wednesday a chaotic proceeding ended with CAO Scot Byrd’s declaration that the commission, shorthanded due to Chairman Frank Cagolatti’s absence, had “approved” the annexation request of Dempsey Pendarvis. We disagree, and regret any confusion caused by earlier reportage.
The actual vote (according to Commissioner Eddie Williams who graciously paid us a visit yesterday) was two in favor of recommending approval; Williams’ own vote to deny and an abstention by Vice Chairman John Lanoux. Our reading of the Lawrason Act, which governs every Louisiana municipality that has not adopted Home Rule, requires a majority vote of the members present for any municipal body to take action (ordinances require a majority of the body’s membership, whether present or not).
While Louisiana law is silent on Planning Commission vote procedure, it spells out requirements for Board of Alderman in the Lawrason Act. Gonzales’ Code of Ordinances is also silent on Planning Commission voting.
Louisiana Revised Statute 33:406:
(2) Any act of the board which is not law shall be by resolution. A resolution shall be approved by an affirmative vote of a majority of the members of the board present at a meeting. No resolution shall require the signature or other action of the mayor to become effective.