GONZALES — A lawsuit was filed Thursday that attempts to block the rezoning on West Orice Roth Road and prevent Emerson Process Management from locating a facility on 18 acres on the road.
Tyrone Smith, one of six plaintiffs in the case, told Mayor Barney Arceneaux and the Gonzales City Council on Monday that the suit was coming and handed them copies of the suit, but he wasn’t sure if the suit actually had been filed. Officials with the Ascension Parish Clerk of Court’s Office confirmed Thursday that the suit was filed via fax on Monday and the original paperwork was delivered on Thursday.
Paul Aucoin, the attorney representing the six plaintiffs, said the suit seeks a declaratory judgment that would make the rezoning “null and void.”
“Now the ball is in their court,” Aucoin said.
Arceneaux and Ryland Percy, the Gonzales city attorney, said Thursday afternoon that they still had not been served with the lawsuit. Arceneaux said he would expect to be notified on Friday.
Once they are served, they will have 15 days to answer the suit’s claims. Percy said he would not comment on the suit until actually seeing it.
In the suit, six Gonzales residents — Smith, Laverne Deal, Darrell Irvin, Lloyd Irvin, Roosevelt Mackyeon and Frank Smith Jr. — claim that Arceneaux, the City Council and the city’s Zoning Commission failed to follow “the prescribed rules, procedures and applicable city ordinances or codes” during the rezoning process.
The council, behind the unanimous recommendation of the Zoning Commission, voted on June 25 to rezone 18 acres on West Orice Roth Road from residential to a commercial designation to allow Emerson Process Management, a Fortune 500 company based in St. Louis, to expand and consolidate its Ascension Parish operations.
Aucoin said the suit also seeks to have the council’s vote to rezone the property reversed and return the property to residential zoning.
“We want to see that the proper procedures are followed,” Aucoin said.