Lafayette, Broussard settle road dispute

Advocate staff photo by BRYAN TUCK --  Traffic moves north between Chemin Metaire Road and La Nouvelle Road Thursday on Ambassador Caffery Boulevard in Lafayette.
Advocate staff photo by BRYAN TUCK -- Traffic moves north between Chemin Metaire Road and La Nouvelle Road Thursday on Ambassador Caffery Boulevard in Lafayette.

A judge has approved an agreement that ends a three-year dispute between Lafayette and Broussard over annexations along the four-lane extension of Ambassador Caffery Parkway in southern Lafayette Parish, according to court filings made public Thursday.

The resolution could help improve soured relations between the neighboring cities and quicken the pace of development along the new road.

The agreement calls for Lafayette to void its annexation of a tract near the intersection of Chemin Metairie Road and Ambassador Caffery — a piece that Broussard had sought.

In return, Broussard will drop its challenge to Lafayette’s annexation of some 200 acres along Ambassador Caffery.

Broussard has also agreed to not fight any future annexations by Lafayette between Chemin Metairie and Verot School Road — about a mile — and to not pursue any annexations itself along the south side of Ambassador Caffery between Verot School and a point just west of Chemin Metairie.

Officials in Broussard and Lafayette declined comment on the agreement pending the release of a joint statement, but there was no indication when that statement might be released.

The neighboring cities began battling over annexations along the Ambassador Caffery extension soon after it opened in 2010.

At stake is future tax revenue if the road, which borders one of the fastest growing areas of the parish, develops into a commercial corridor as expected.

Despite the commercial possibilities, most of the land fronting the four-lane is still empty fields.

That lack of development is understandable, considering that the annexation dispute has held up work to run utility services down the new road, said Lafayette City-Parish Councilman Don Bertrand, who represents part of the area.

“If you don’t know who owns it, you don’t know who is putting in the utilities,” Bertrand said.

But the councilman said interest from developers is high and he expects to see some movement now that annexation flap is resolved.

“There are a number of plans that are out there,” he said.

The new 6-mile extension of Ambassador Caffery goes from Verot School Road to U.S. 90.

Half of the road was already in Broussard when it opened, and the other half cut through mostly vacant land that had been in an unincorporated area of the parish before Lafayette’s annexations.

Broussard officials had argued they had a right to annex more property along the road because the city contributed $10 million to its construction.

Lafayette officials staked a claim based on city-parish government’s agreement to take over the maintenance of several miles of other state roads in exchange for the state building Ambassador Caffery.

The annexation dispute soured relations between the neighboring cities, and City-Parish President Joey Durel cited the lawsuit last year when he opted not to renew a contract for city-parish government to provide animal control services in Broussard.