ZACHARY — The City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to block a Plaquemine development group’s plan to build a three-story, 156-unit apartment complex off McHugh Road south of Lane Regional Medical Center.
Tom Delahaye, one of the developers, said the complex would be similar to a development called the Village at Juban Lakes in Livingston Parish, which includes a clubhouse, fitness center and swimming pool.
Mike Clegg, attorney for the project, said the developers had met with neighboring residents and addressed their concerns, as well as those expressed during a Planning and Zoning Commission hearing on the site plan.
The developers agreed to install, at their expense, an 8-inch water line along McHugh Road between La. 64 and Lower Zachary Road to replace the existing six-inch line, engineer Murray McCullough said.
The commission voted unanimously to recommend that the council approve the site plan.
Clegg said Zachary is a progressive city that will attract upscale developments, particularly because of its top-ranked school system.
Clegg said the developers planned to spend $17 million on the project.
Opponents, including several who live along nearby Woodland Drive, challenged the developers’ claims that drainage will be adequate and complained about the added traffic, and congestion caused by nonresidents who are allegedly sneaking their children into Zachary schools by waiting in vehicles for school buses that travel on McHugh Road.
Benjamin Stalter, a representative of a large apartment complex on the west side of the city, said Zachary is “overbuilding” with apartments, which will cause rents to drop and “let in the riff-raff.”
Woodland Drive resident Steve Cotton said the proposed three-story building “is wrong for where it’s at.”
Although a previous council allowed a gated condominium development to be built next to the proposed site, Councilman Brandon Noel said his principal objection is that the city’s comprehensive plan now designates the area for “agricultural-forestry” use.
Councilmen John Coghlan, Francis Nezianya, Tommy Womack and Dan Wallis supported Noel’s motion to deny the site permit.
Other topics before the council included:
REDISTRICTING: The councilmen approved new districts based on the 2010 census that will be used for council elections in 2014. Because of the city’s population growth between 2000 and 2010, the population was not equitably distributed in the old districts.
The most that any district now deviates from the ideal population of 2,992 residents per district is 134 in District 1, which now has 2,858.
BID AWARDS: The council accepted the $808,373 low bid of Industrial Enterprises Inc. for this year’s street repair program and the low bid of $1,238,860 from Grady Crawford Construction Co. for the first phase of a sewer improvement project funded with a $9.3 million Department of Environmental Quality loan.