Four members of Ascension’s Council are being praised for their votes to uphold Antebellum Pointe subdivision’s denial on Monday, six are being excoriated. Lost in the maelstrom is the recognition due the individual whose efforts made it possible…
Former District 4 Councilman Daniel “Doc” Satterlee
Among the most outspoken members ever to serve, Satterlee single-handedly pushed legislation that resulted in the abolition of an odious three-member Planning Commission Appeals Board. Satterlee, to the disdain of his council colleagues in 2017, jammed amendments to Section 17-4092 of the Subdivision Regulations through, substituting the full council for that travesty. Don’t be fooled by the unanimous vote on March 16, 2017, Satterlee had a steep legislative hill to climb.
Ascension’s Planning Commission had not denied a subdivision preliminary plat in nearly two decades when Brookstone was rejected in February 2016. Then president Kenny Matassa had to rush the appointments of three Appeals Board members because they had not convened in such a long time. That body approved Brookstone, then reversed two more denied plats before the year was out (Camellia Cove and Oakbourne subdivisions).
At the time, Satterlee chaired the Council’s Strategic Planning Commission where his focus had been fixed on “worthless” Traffic Impact Studies required of every new plat.
NOTE: The rationale to uphold the Commission’s denial of Antebellum Pointe was its questionable Traffic Impact Study. (So Doc Satterlee should get double credit. Though the issue was hijacked from Strategic Planning, languishing for nearly a year before implementation through the Transportation Committee, new TIS would never have happened without his efforts).
On January 12, 2017 Satterlee’s committee took up the issue; should the three-member Appeals Board be replaced by the Parish Council? Moments before convening that meeting he lamented, “It’s dead. I doubt there will even be a motion to forward it to the council” (or words to that effect). But something magical happened in the Council Chamber that evening, something that can only happen in a system of government like ours.
The room was empty except for the committee, three concerned citizens, and your writer. But those three citizens; Kathryn Goppelt, Douglas Foster, and Jeff Pettit in succession combined for nine minutes of the most compelling oratory ever voiced from the public speakers’ dais. With a fresh wind at his back, Chairman Satterlee’s proposal carried the day as Councilmen Benny Johnson, Aaron Lawler and Bill Dawson (Oliver Joseph left before the agenda item came up) acquiesced.
An amendment to Ordinance 17-4092 was subsequently drafted, introduced on February 2, 2017 over the objection of Councilman Dempsey Lambert…
then unanimously adopted into law on March 16, 2017. An ordinance to establish Appeals Board Procedure, 17-4092.1 was enacted six months later, then amended in one vital particular. On November 11, 2017 a unanimous council added language to require a 2/3 majority of the full council (8 votes) to overturn a Planning Commission denial (otherwise Antebellum Pointe would have had the votes on Monday).
If you are one of the citizens heaping praise on Councilmen Chase Melancon, Aaron Lawler, Dal Waguespack and Michael Mason (the four votes to uphold the denial), save some for Dr. Satterlee. No councilman ever fought the fight for “infrastructure-driven development” harder than he did. There is no comparison with his District 4 successor.
Elections have consequences.
No one can ever accuse Satterlee of lacking passion. Never wary of voicing his opinions, that outspokenness can be a double-edged sword when the electorate disagrees. Or maybe his political shelf-life simply expired.
Whatever the reason for the Satterlee’s unsuccessful bid for a third term, no one can take away his accomplishments.