Melancon refuses to comply with street building condition on Buzzard Roost approval

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

Ascension’s newly-configured Planning Commission (former commissioner Richard Carmouche was ousted after voting to deny five subdivision preliminary plats, replaced by Michael Varnado) will cast its first votes on subdivision preliminary plats tonight.  Two townhome developments are joined on the agenda by a Major Revision of the previously approved Buzzard Roost (Industrial Park)-1st Filing after the developer balked at multiple conditions imposed on January 13.

“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 been targeted as “the proposed Louisiana DOTD corridor connecting Hwy 30 and the future I-10 interchange.”  Certain council members have advocated for the parish to build the road according to multiple sources.

Or maybe he simply does not want to incur the additional cost of curb and gutter.  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?

In a February 3 email Planning Director Jerome Fournier memorialized a January 21 meeting with Melancon:

“Ascension Parish is coordinating this important project with La DOTD and they have indicated that it is important that the corridor be preserved as a major truck path from the chemical industry along the river to a future I-10 interchange and that the corridor not hinder the quality of life of residential homeowners. It is therefore important that the Parish review the plan with DOTD and determine that the proposed land uses along the corridor be compatible with major truck traffic. As such, a review of the plan with DOTD will be coordinated prior to modification of the Buzzard Roost preliminary plat.

Any application to modify the preliminary plat and the approved conditions should include the above items along with any required revisions to the traffic study, limitations on square footage prior to any recommended improvements and/or limitations on building permits for future filings. The revised traffic study and limitations will be analyzed and discussed with staff and the ERA during the review period for this application so that meaningful discussion can be had at the Planning Commission meeting. Also, as part of this application, the applicant should specifically request that, should the Planning Commission not agree to Mr. Melancon’s stance on the above named conditions, that the application be denied so he may proceed with an appeal to the Planning Commission Board of Appeals according to Parish Ordinances.”

The Planning Commission Appeals Board is the Parish Council where Melancon probably figures he can get whatever he wants.