Broussard to drop part of annexation fight

Broussard will drop some of its legal challenges of Lafayette’s annexations along Ambassador Caffery Parkway South, Broussard Mayor Charles Langlinais announced Thursday in what he said was a “good faith” effort to resolve ongoing disputes between the two cities.

Leaders in Lafayette and Broussard have been publicly feuding since 2010, when Lafayette annexed unincorporated areas along the new stretch of Ambassador Caffery between Lafayette and Broussard.

The dispute escalated with a disagreement over Broussard’s contract to buy wholesale water from Lafayette.

The larger city has since ended animal control services in Broussard and has announced plans to end fire dispatch services for Broussard next month.

Lafayette City-Parish President Joey Durel has said he would reconsider offering those services if Broussard dropped its annexation lawsuit against Lafayette.

Langlinais said in a statement Thursday that he hoped Broussard’s decision to pull back its lawsuit against Lafayette would prompt “Durel to make a similar showing of good faith” and meet with “a neutral mediator to resolve the remaining annexation dispute, the water issues, and all other remaining disputes.”

Durel on Thursday declined to discuss his next steps until after Broussard formally dismisses the legal claims.

Even if Broussard dismisses the annexation challenges referenced in Langlinais’ announcement, the smaller city would still have pending litigation over some 200 acres of Lafayette’s annexations along Ambassador Caffery.

That area includes land owned by people who had originally petitioned to join Broussard.

Broussard officials have characterized Lafayette’s annexations along the four-lane stretch of Ambassador Caffery South as a land grab for frontage along a busy corridor that could be a lucrative source of tax revenue in the future.

Lafayette has countered that about half of the new six-mile section of Ambassador Caffery already runs through Broussard.

Langlinais said Broussard plans to alter the pending annexation lawsuit against Lafayette to drop objections to the larger city’s annexation of 2½ miles of the Ambassador Caffery roadbed and the Vieux Chenes Golf Course.

Vieux Chenes is owned by Lafayette but had been in an unincorporated area of the parish before the annexation.

Broussard has argued that the issue was not the annexation of the golf course itself but rather the annexation of the long stretch of Ambassador Caffery leading to the golf course.

Lafayette’s annexation of the road makes it more difficult for Broussard to push farther north along Ambassador Caffery.

Durel cited the annexation lawsuit last year when he declined to renew a contract under which Broussard had been paying Lafayette for animal control services.

Durel has also said the Lafayette Fire Department next month will stop providing dispatch services for the Broussard Fire Department, forcing the smaller city to either launch a dispatch service or contract with another agency.