Gonzales P/Z rubberstamps approval of Village at Sawgrass

Village at Sawgrass

Gonzales Planning & Zoning, beginning to resemble its Ascension Parish counterpart as a mere rubberstamp for every developer’s desire, recommended approval of “the concept plan for the Village at Sawgrass, to create a commercial project” on Monday.  The “115-unit residential single family rental development” on 15.91 acres “at the southwestern intersection of Orice Roth Road and Veterans Blvd” had faced some resistance during two earlier meetings.  But, sooner or later, the developer seems to get its way.

How renting 115-units for single family residential occupancy can be classified as “a commercial development” is anyone’s guess.  Nary a question was asked on Monday, not even by Commissioner Kemlyn Bailey Lomas who motioned “to table” consideration in September “until we determine whether the area can handle additional development.”  No such determination has been made, not with regard to traffic congestion, nor persistent drainage problems in the Orice Roth corridor.

Gonzales’ Chief Administrative Officer Scot Byrd was on hand to shepherd the concept plan to approval.  In September Byrd expressed “full support of the rezoning” and, “generally speaking, we like the Concept Plan” on behalf of Mayor Barney Arceneaux’s administration.  Monday’s inevitable Planning & Zoning approval was only a matter of time.

Village at Sawgrass is the city’s first Planned Unit Development which, until recent revisions to Gonzales’ Development Code, did not exist among the city’s zoning classifications.  CAO Byrd likened it to Traditional Neighborhood Development because of the control available to the commission and, as with every development action, the City Council.  A Bryson DeChambeau tee-shot away from the recently-approved Chapelwood Estates, public consternation about developments in the area boiled over at a recent council meeting.

The mood on Monday was more subdued, and the meeting was sparsely attended by the public.  Worn down or figuring out that the City Council always has the final say, except for a few stalwarts the public stayed away.  Gonzales’ Planning & Zoning is only a recommending body (unlike its parish counterpart which enjoys the final say so over preliminary and final plats) in every instance.

Speaking of Chapelwood Estates, its detention pond will provide capacity to assist in draining the proposed Community Activities, Recreation and Education (CARE) Center.  The commission considered a waiver on parking requirements, reducing the Darla Avenue site’s requirement to 120 spaces.

Word of Faith Ministries to give way to CARE Center

Meyer Engineers’ Raymond Hartley made the presentation on Monday, explaining that ingress/egress to the facility will be through Chapelwood Estates as well.

What does it cost to hire Meyer Engineering for a splash pad in AP? $49,900, logarithmically speaking

Meyer Engineering’s fee was not disclosed.

Speaking of a developer getting his way…Grady Melancon was on hand to secure approval to remove a note on Orleans Place’s 2009 final plat: “ALL HOUSES ARE TO BE BUILT ON PIERS…”  Melancon has a pending sale to DR Horton, contingent upon removal of that note and the ability to build slab housing.

Melancon sits while his engineer (Deric Murphy) and attorney (Kim Landry) huddle up.

The Final Plat note was intended to preserve “THE TEMPORARY FLOOD STORAGE AREAS BENEATH THE HOME SITES.”  Ascension’s Engineering Review Agent, Shaun Sherrow of CSRS, signed off on an alternate method to accomplish the goal concocted by Melancon’s engineer, Deric Murphy of Quality Engineering (Melancon’s lawyer, Kim Landry, was also on hand Monday).  Murphy claimed that his plan will “offset fill already there” along with mitigating all future fill placed in Orleans Place.

An existing detention pond adjacent to the subdivision will be used for that purpose.  Approval was made contingent upon the City Attorney’s “review” of a DRAINAGE SERVITUDE AND MAINTENANCE AGREEMENT between Orleans Place Subdivision, LLC and SLC, LLC.  The former, incorporated on April 6, 2009, had its corporate charter revoked on August 16, 2021.