LAFAYETTE — City-parish government is set to buy a home for $775,000 to settle a lawsuit over erosion linked to a city drainage coulee that the owners say led to sink holes in their yard and cracks in the home’s slab.
The purchase agreement was made public Tuesday when the City-Parish Council made a preliminary vote to approve the measure.
The $775,000 payment for the home is only part of the settlement, but City-Parish Attorney Mike Hebert declined to reveal how much more money will be paid out in the case, saying the settlement has yet to be signed.
A final vote on the property purchase is scheduled Feb. 4, but the council already approved the terms of the overall settlement during a closed-door meeting in December.
The settlement would end a lawsuit filed in 2009 by Steven Dupuis Sr. and his wife, Melissa. Dupuis is a former city-parish attorney who last served about 10 years ago.
The lawsuit sought damages from erosion that the Dupuis family argued was linked to a large crack in the concrete liner of Coulee Mine, a major drainage channel that runs behind their home at 164 Twin Oaks Blvd.
According to the lawsuit, sinkholes developed in the backyard so large that the family had to build a fence to keep children away and that undermining from the erosion led to cracks in the home’s slab, ceilings and walls.
City-Parish Chief Administrative Officer Dee Stanley said the city will likely use the yard of the Twin Oaks property for a staging area for planned work on Coulee Mine.
There are no current plans for what to do with the home, Stanley said.
In other business, the council introduced a measure to adopt a new parish boundary that pushes the line farther into Vermilion Parish.
A final vote is scheduled for Feb. 4.
The impact of the council’s action — assuming the new border is approved — is unclear because Vermilion Parish officials have raised questions about the legality of Lafayette’s actions.
The proposal for a new boundary comes after the council voted unanimously in October to back out of decade-old agreement with the Vermilion Parish Police Jury that had set the boundary and ended years of dispute over the parish line.
City-Parish Councilman Don Bertrand, who proposed the ordinance for the new border, has said the line that was drawn under the old agreement with Vermilion Parish was based on incomplete information.
The ordinance up for a vote next month would adopt a new line on the west side of the Vermilion River and call for spending up to $30,000 for additional research on the parish boundary east of the Vermilion River.