Wrangling over annexations heats up

Legal battles over annexations in southern Lafayette Parish are heating up again after a brief dé tente.

A company that owns about 75 acres near Fortune Road and La. 89 filed a lawsuit over the city of Youngsville’s decision in June to annex the property against the company’s wishes.

Landowner Lorena Rose LLC argues in court filings this month that the company “is caught in the middle of an ongoing land grab between the various municipalities in Lafayette Parish seeking to expand their corporate limits, primarily for the purpose of increasing their future tax revenues.”

The lawsuit comes after a legal settlement in June between the cities of Broussard and Lafayette that ended three years of legal wrangling over contested annexations along the new stretch of Ambassador Caffery Parkway through southern Lafayette Parish — a fast-growing area that is considered ripe for new development.

The lawsuit against Youngsville is over land in the same general area, and the company that owns the land had initially sought to be annexed into Broussard rather than Youngsville.

The company argues in court filings that it has been working to develop the property and that being forced into Youngsville could drive development costs up by $2,000 per residential lot because Youngsville has more stringent regulations than Broussard.

Youngsville Mayor Wilson Viator said Monday that he does not see how the property could be developed without using Youngsville’s roads or water lines, because his city practically surrounds the tract.

The mayor said he foresees another legal “mess” involving Broussard over annexations in southern Lafayette Parish.

Broussard released a statement Monday in support of the developer.

“From the very beginning, the developer involved in this project made it clear to the city of Youngsville that he wanted to be a part of the city of Broussard,” city officials said in a statement issued through Broussard spokeswoman Amy Jones.

“We hate that this situation has escalated to this point for the developer and hope there is a quick resolution to it so that he can move forward with his project in its original intent as soon as possible.”

No court date has been set in the case.