Youngsville council allows development to proceed

The City Council voted unanimously Thursday to allow the Cypress Gardens development to continue despite its inability to comply with an ordinance mandating 60-foot lots.

The action was taken in accordance with several conditions brought forth by Youngsville city engineer Dax Douet.

The council found itself in an unusual position because developer Louis Anzalone had received approval from the Lafayette City-Parish Consolidated Government a year ago to move forward with the development with 55-foot lots.

That approval came before Youngsville adopted the ordinance mandating 60-foot lots. Furthermore, Anzalone received approval for the development before the land was annexed into Youngsville.

“I want to stay in Youngsville and keep developing in Youngsville,” Anzalone told the council. “It is getting more expensive and I need to be competitive with Broussard and the outlying areas.”

Anzalone estimated that forcing the development to comply with the 60-foot ordinance would cost him around $400,000.

Councilman Ken Ritter said the city’s concerns are not just about lot size, but about the quality of life 10-to-20 years later.

“We are concerned about what these neighborhoods will look like down the road,” Ritter said. “That is what inspires these ordinances. I don’t want to be difficult to do business with.”

“We are trying to hold our developers to higher criteria,” Councilman Tim Barbier said. “In 10 years from now, when the developers leave and move on and we can’t find them, when those homeowners have questions, whoever is going to be sitting in these seats are going to have to answer their questions.”

Douet provided the council a list of more than 20 stipulations for the council’s review, including assurance that all streets within the development would be public.

“These houses are beautiful homes,” Barbier said. “If it would have been private streets, there is no way those homeowners, 10 years from now, could afford to maintain those streets.”

The council also voted against an amendment to an ordinance allowing banners to hang outside of businesses year round within the city.

The council, however, voted 2-1 to modify the ordinance to allow businesses to hang banners for 90 days, as opposed to the current 30 days.

“The banner gives us a presence,” said Micah Yarborough, of Legacy Ink Tattoo Studio.

“People see that and they know we’re there. Other businesses fly banners in town, and it would certainly help our business, but we want to comply.”

The council voted to approve the new city inspector’s salary.

The city inspector has yet to be hired, but Mayor Wilson Viator said the position is vital to everyday functions in the city.

“(The city inspector) will be doing everything,” Viator said. “From signage, to drainage, to sewage, to water, he will be making sure everything is done right. Any ordinances we have regarding development, it will be his responsibility to see they are enforced.”