Cognitive Dissonance is defined as “the excessive mental stress and discomfort experienced by one who holds 2 or more contradictory beliefs, ideas or values at the same time.” This sounds like the perfect description for the problem we have with comprehensive planning and the new Costco development here in Lafayette. They are polar opposites in public policy. That’s what happens when money and good government have a conflict.
The Comprehensive Plan Citizens Advisory Committee, created by City-Parish President Joey Durel and others (of which I am a member) just adopted the Comprehensive Plan for Lafayette Parish. Next, the LCG council will be asked to adopt the same Plan. The Plan says no more super box store development in the city, specifically along Ambassador Caffery and Kaliste Saloon. The Comp Plan Future Land Use Map literally has a bull’s eye target on that very intersection.
The Comp Plan calls for a “mixed use” development of this area (think River Ranch), including “retail, office, services, restaurants, and residential. The mixed-use centers are envisioned as walkable districts served by transit, sidewalks and bike paths.” The plan is to utilize zoning and code restrictions (by law) to stop developments just like this. (ex: Target Center on Kaliste Saloom)
At the exact same time the Comp Plan is being adopted, Mr. Durel, Don Bertrand and others asked the LCG council to approve a resolution (which they already did) asking that the Industrial Development Board, a non-elected board, to give away the future property taxes which are dedicated to schools, fire and police protection, streets, airport, etc. (to run everything), to the developers to help pay for their development. They call it the PILOT program. This PILOT program is designed to pay for a substantive portion of the cost of this big box store retail development. No “mixed-use” here. No one is even sure how much future property tax revenue we will be forfeiting because they didn’t give the council a plan or cost estimate of how much of the future property taxes they will not be paying.
And just to be clear, the money is not going to Costco to entice them to move here, the money is going to developer and owners of the land to pay for their development so they can sell or rent to Costco and others at a greater profit. All this does is increase the value of the most valuable land in Lafayette. So you can see our city’s leadership must be suffering from some cognitive dissonance.
But don’t worry, they have it figured out… They will do both.
How you may ask? Wouldn’t the leaders of the Comprehensive Plan tell the Zoning and Planning board to not approve the development? If they do approve the development, shouldn’t the leaders of Zoning and Planning tell the Comprehensive Planning Commission that they do not agree with the Comprehensive Plan? What about the LCG council who is going to approve both?
Does it even matter? The Industrial Development Board doesn’t have to listen to any of them, because they have the power to give away the money without the community’s consent. What a confusing conundrum they must all be in?
Here’s the really interesting part. They have no conundrum. You see it’s all the same people... some are literally the same people among the different groups. Many of the same people or their supporters are on the LCG Council, Comprehensive Planning, Planning and Zoning and/or the Industrial Development Board.
Personally, I am against giving subsidies to any business, period. It is not economic development; it is political power turned into money, period. And, I am the recipient of some of these subsidies. It should all be stopped. Even Mr. Durel has said he is philosophically and ideologically against this special interest PILOT deal, but feels the pressure to go along with it for the good of Lafayette. Well trust me, I feel the pressure to go along with it also, but this is not about me or Mr. Durel , this is supposed to be about what is right for this community.
It really boils down to this, do you want enormous future property taxes to go to the landowners and developers of Costco, or to Lafayette? And please don’t be misdirected by terms like “economic development” or that having Costco is a “quality of life issue” for Lafayette. It is much more simple than that. It is really about transferring money to the landowner/developer to pay for their private development.
Mr. Durel by his advocacy, the Comprehensive Planning Commission by their silence, and LCG by their vote to support the PILOT, have already picked the landowner/developer over your schools, fire and police protection, parks & etc.
What about you? Can you help our leaders out of this Cognitive Dissonance? Ask questions and start the conversation before it is too late!
Member – Comprehensive Plan Citizens Advisory Committee
Mike Harson's coffers show the advantage of incumbency.
The Lafayette City-Parish Council will vote on an ordinance for final adoption Tuesday that, if approved, would give the city the green light to take over a stretch of Verot School Road from the state Department of Transportation and Development.
The Louisiana Association of Educators filed a lawsuit challenging the $60 million in spending through Louisiana's public school financing formula.
He's been out of office for nearly a decade, but former U.S. Sen. John Breaux is back on the campaign trail, urging voters to support his one-time colleague, Democrat Mary Landrieu.
The unresolved fate of the ashes left behind after Ebola waste was destroyed in Texas highlights the problem U.S. hospitals and communities could face in disposing of their own waste.
Lafayette manufactured home or Scott two bedroom home
Cajun fan fierce
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
While much of the talk was about whether New Orleans could win a big game — or any game, for that matter — on the road, the conversation in the Saints' locker room was about something completely different.
State health officials told thousands of doctors planning to attend a tropical diseases meeting this weekend in New Orleans to stay away if they have been to certain African countries or have had contact with an Ebola patient in the last 21 days.
Republicans are calling on Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu to apologize after she suggested Thursday that President Barack Obama's deep unpopularity in the South is partly tied to race.
Compared to the rest of the country, Lafayette has it pretty good when it comes to the cost and speed of our Internet.
Hello Kitty turns 40; police ambush suspect caught; Knicks surprise Cavs and more national and international news for Friday, October 31, 2014.
Friday's Blogs from the Bog!
The Lafayette City-Parish Council will consider on Tuesday a revised plan to the transform a block in Downtown Lafayette into a mixed-use residential-retail-commercial development that doesn’t include giving title to the property to the Lafayette Public Trust Finance Authority, an arrangement the council rejected earlier this month.
Trying to combat the national undertones of Louisiana's U.S. Senate race, Democratic incumbent Mary Landrieu is traveling the state this week on a sort of pork celebration tour, telling voters about the projects and aid she's delivered to Louisiana.
Ever thought that big, pink Gulf coast shrimp you ordered at the restaurant or bought from the store didn't taste juicy or salty enough? Maybe it wasn't from the Gulf.
The state treasurer won't sign financial documents needed for $200 million in borrowing or for a refinancing of existing debt until he believes they accurately explain the surplus disagreement.
Homecoming outfits with ease
Acadian style home in St. Martinville or traditional Breaux Bridge home
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
Bill Cassidy voted for 97 percent of the bills signed by Barack Obama.
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal is joining South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley on her campaign bus tour.
A New Iberia man has been sentenced to life in prison for killing a 4-year-old girl and scalding her 3-year-old brother.
A district judge decided Wednesday against sanctioning attorney/school board candidate Dawn Morris for her behind-the-scenes role in a lawsuit against Mark Cockerham.
Secretary of State Tom Schedler says Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration may have improperly destroyed records in the state employee health insurance program, in the middle of a heavily-criticized rewrite of benefit plans.
Paper cites the former ADA's "experience as a prosecutor, his demonstrated integrity, and his ideas for reshaping the [DA's] office" in urging voters to support Keith Stutes Nov. 4.
Louisiana officials have sent a letter to the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene un-inviting members of the group who have recently been to ebola-affected West African countries from attending the group’s annual conference in New Orleans next week.
Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints have to find a way to win on the road if they plan to take over first place in the NFC South.
"It is obvious that Louisiana economic performance has not outperformed the South or the United States as a whole and, in fact, has substantially underperformed..."