Emerging from an Executive Session just under half-an-hour, Ascension’s Parish Council voted to approve the preliminary plat of Delaune Estates (formerly Antebellum Pointe) subdivision on Thursday. The threadbare 6-5 vote is intended to settle a September 2020 lawsuit filed by the property owners of 86 acres just west of Hwy 73, the proposed site of a 237-lot subdivision denied by the Planning Commission. The one-vote majority is not enough to override a veto by President Clint Cointment, should he decide to exercise it.
Cointment has opposed approval of the subdivision at every step; Planning’s March 11, 2020 denial, in anticipation of the July 27 Planning Commission Appeals Board consideration, and before the council’s consideration of the operative item on Thursday’s agenda.
Councilman Corey Orgeron, whose District 4 includes the subject acreage, made the motion to approve Delaune Estates’ plat, minus ten lots given up by the developer in a compromise. The concession is unlikely to move the 20 citizens who appeared in opposition on Thursday. Ten of them took their turns at the public speakers podium prior to the council going behind closed doors to discuss.
The all-too familiar criticism of insufficient infrastructure was offered. Multiple speakers urged the council to stand firm, citing case-law in support of their projections that Ascension Parish would prevail in the pending litigation. Concerns over the precedent set, every dissatisfied developer will sue the parish, were voiced by a number of the citizens present on Thursday.
Thursday’s vote is similar to the council’s decision nine months ago when it convened as the Appeals Board…
Councilman Aaron Lawler, to the surprise of no one, switched sides to make the majority favoring settlement. His change of heart was essential because Councilman Travis Turner deserted the pro-approval faction.
Should a presidential veto be forthcoming, Cointment is required to call a Special Meeting at which the council will have the opportunity to override with ten days. That would require an eight-vote supermajority.