Pryor resigns seat on Planning & Zoning Commissions

Former Planning Commission Chairman Matthew Pryor (file photo)

Matthew Pryor announced that he would resign the seat on Ascension’s Planning & Zoning Commissions held since July of 2014, most of that tenure served in the chairmanship.  Another commissioner, Ken Firmin is expected to resign in the coming months leaving three vacancies on the seven-member commissions since Shannon Hutchings left some months back.  Three more commissioners’ terms are set to expire on February 8 leaving six appointments to be made by the Parish Council.

“I’ve had the privilege of serving on these commissions the last seven years, and it has been a true honor,” Pryor offered during last night’s Chairman’s Comments.  “I think we have done a lot of good work for Ascension Parish.”

Pryor did not itemize any of the “good work” referenced and, we suspect, a vast public majority would take issue with his salutation.

Pryor’s departure eliminates an admittedly “pro-development” voice on the commission, and avoids his having to enforce what promise to be stringent drainage regulations proposed by President Clint Cointment’s administration.  Six months into a 9-month moratorium on subdivisions of property, Cointment intends to present legislation for the Parish Council’s consideration by April.  Kendig Keast Collaborative, a Sugarland TX outfit, is busy working on a total revamp of Ascension’s Land Development Code and that work will proceed well past the moratorium’s expiration.

Planning & Zoning, as currently configured (including terms of appointment):

  • Aaron Chaisson-term expires on February 8, 2022
  • Wade Schexnaydre-term expires on February 8, 2022
  • Julio Dumas-term expires on February 8, 2022
  • Ken Firmin-term expires on February 8, 2023
  • Michael Todd Varnado-term expires on February 8, 2023

With Firmin’s resignation the Council will have six appointments to make, three of them expected to be reappointments (Chaisson, Schexnaydre, and Dumas).  Dumas joined Pryor in the “pro-development” camp while Chaisson and Schexnaydre have attempted to hold developers to account.  Varnado’s voting record is sparser having been appointed to the Commission in April of 2021, but he is four-for-four in voting to deny subdivision preliminary plats.

Council Chairman John Cagnolatti

What direction will the newly-configured Planning Commission take?  The onus is on newly-elected Parish Council Chairman John Cagnolatti who will appoint five members to the Personnel Committee tasked with recommending six Planning/Zoning Commissioners in the very near future.

NOTE:  We’ll have more on that in the coming days.