LAFAYETTE — The Lafayette City-Parish Council voted Tuesday to push the parish line a bit south into Vermilion Parish, a move with murky implications because Vermilion Parish officials have not agreed to shift the border.
The council voted 6-3 to approve the new boundary, a move that comes after an October vote by the council to back out of a 2002 boundary agreement with Vermilion Parish that was thought to have ended years of dispute over the parish line.
The effort to draw a new parish line, spearheaded by Councilman Don Bertrand, has revived that dispute.
Vermilion Parish officials have argued Lafayette Parish cannot legally back out of the old border agreement.
Bertrand contends that the boundary drawn as part of the 2002 agreement was based on incomplete research by the State Land Office.
The measure approved by the council Tuesday calls for a new boundary based on what Bertrand has said is more complete research to divine where the border was when it was originally drawn in 1844.
Bertrand’s proposal calls for adopting a new line on the west side of the Vermilion River and for spending up to $30,000 for additional research on the parish boundary east of the Vermilion River, a portion of the Vermilion-Lafayette border that has yet to be thoroughly researched.
The vote on the border Tuesday has no immediate effect, and Bertrand and others have said they expect the issue will be settled only through litigation unless Vermilion Parish changes course and agrees with the line as drawn by Lafayette.
Councilmen William Theriot, Andy Naquin and Jared Bellard voted against the boundary proposal.
Bellard said his issue was with spending $30,000 for additional research.
He said he would have rathered to wait to see if the new line west of the Vermilion River stands up in court before paying money to research the line on the east side.
In other business, the council signed off on paying $775,000 to buy a home as part of a legal settlement to end litigation over erosion from a city drainage coulee blamed for sinkholes in the yard of the home and foundation problems.
The home purchase is only part of the settlement, but city-parish officials have declined to disclose how much more money might be paid out.
The settlement would end a lawsuit filed in 2009 by Steven Dupuis Sr. and his wife, Melissa, over erosion linked to a cracked concrete liner in a coulee running behind their home on Twin Oaks Boulevard.
Steven Dupuis is a former city-parish attorney who last served about 10 years ago.
According to the lawsuit, sinkholes developed in the backyard so large that the family had to build a fence to keep children away. In addition, the suit says, undermining from the erosion led to cracks in the home’s slab, ceilings and walls.
City-Parish Chief Administrative Officer Dee Stanley said last month that the city has no immediate plans for the home but likely will use the lot as a staging area for work on the coulee.