Mandeville residents vent about proposal

Dozens of Mandeville residents turned out for a public hearing earlier this week to vent about a plan to create a historic district.

Most or the residents expressed fears the district would lead to over-regulation of private property.

Members of the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission assured residents the ordinance to create the district can be modified based on public input.

Still, some said it represents increased government intervention in their lives.

Planning Director Louisette Kidd said the ordinance was introduced “to find out how restrictive we want it (the district) to be.”

Under the plan, the City Council would establish the district for the Old Mandeville neighborhood.

While the concept of a historic district appears to have some support, a draft ordinance raised concerns, including that a commission would wield authority to determine what color a home could be painted or where a fence could be placed on private property.

“For 172 years, this community was able to live, grow and thrive without five people telling people what to do,” Old Mandeville resident Jeff Osborne told the commission. “This ordinance is a pound of regulation when you only need a teaspoon. You’re dealing with people’s property. You’re dealing with the American dream.”

Property owner Gerard Braud said the ordinance “creates the great American nightmare. The intentions are good but the document is greatly flawed.”

Supporters say much of the debate is being driven by misinformation. They argue the ordinance would apply only to new construction and to certain structures more than 50 years old.

Zoning Chairman Nixon Adams said the Planning and Zoning Commission will probably meet in January to tweak the ordinance before giving it to the City Council, which has the final say.