LAFAYETTE — The City-Parish Council is mulling new development regulations for rural areas of Lafayette Parish, where there are currently few guidelines on what can be built and where.
Councilmen Kevin Naquin and Jay Castille on Tuesday are scheduled to introduce a plan that in some instances calls for trees, buffer space and fences when new developments conflict with what’s already in place.
A final vote on the regulations is scheduled for Aug. 28.
The city of Lafayette has zoning laws in place that dictate what can be built where — dividing the city up into areas for homes, commercial activity and industrial sites.
For the unincorporated areas of the parish, no such regulations exist, and the council has repeatedly heard from angry residents lamenting the lack of restrictions to keep objectionable developments from popping up next to their homes.
A rural land-use plan has been discussed for several years, but the desire by rural residents for protection from objectionable developments has been tempered by a distaste for government regulation.
Castille said the proposed regulations strike a balance and will have no effect on residential developments.
“What this mainly affects are the businesses,” he said.
The plan under consideration by the council is not zoning but rather a so-called land-use plan.
The proposed land-use regulations do not prohibit any particular development but require increasing buffer space, greenbelts planted with trees and fencing based on how objectionable a new development might be to existing businesses and homes in the area.
“You can develop anything you want, but you have to protect what’s there,” Castille said.
Businesses such as waste disposal facilities, wreckers, salvage yards and pipe yards — dubbed “intense” land uses under the proposed regulations — would face the most onerous requirements.
For example, in non-agricultural areas outside the city limits, businesses in the “intense” category planned near a home would need a 1,320-foot buffer, a 400-feet greenbelt and a fence.
The requirements would be much less for such businesses as a restaurant, day-care facility or convenience store.
“We are just trying to make sure everything fits,” Naquin said. “It’s something that I feel has been needed.”
The land-use plan is similar to one the city of Carencro implemented in 2009.
Castille said the Carencro plan was used as a starting point for the development of the proposed regulations for the rural areas of Lafayette Parish.
The proposed plan divides the unincorporated areas of the parish into five districts, with development requirements differing in each one.