That’s what happens when money and good government have a conflict.
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
The U.S. rep billed LSU for work allegedly performed on the same days Congress voted on major legislation and held important committee hearings on energy and the ACA.
Abysmally low participation by the public has prompted the council to scuttle the 2014 survey with plans to simplify it and try again next year.
The village now says the ordinance will likely be overturned and authorities will more vigorously enforce existing leash laws.
Bill Cassidy cast an early ballot Tuesday, seeking to draw renewed attention to a race that has fallen off newspaper front pages and away from people's minds as they plan holiday meals and shopping schedules.
Battered all night by Baltimore's relentless pass rush, Drew Brees could feel his protection collapsing and Terrell Suggs getting ahold of him as he urgently unloaded a pass to the right flat toward tight end Jimmy Graham.
After a convincing defeat at the polls on Nov. 4, Earl “Nickey” Picard has decided to let bygones be bygones with his former right-hand man Brian Pope, announcing his support for his former employee’s runoff bid to become Lafayette’s next city marshal.
Odell Beckham on the catch; chaos in Ferguson; snowstorm set to snarl travel and more national and international news for Tuesday, November 25, 2014.
Tuesday's Blogs from the Bog!
Saturday the athletic department did everything possible to ensure the 2014 Ragin’ Cajun seniors remembered fondly their last home game. Rain and lightning never arrived but turbulence did in the form of the Appalachian State Mountaineers.
Even stranger than the Republican Party’s decision to hold a “unity rally” earlier this month for Congressman Bill Cassidy in a Baton Rouge bar, Huey’s Bar, was the fact that the establishment was named after Louisiana’s most famous Democrat.
Bar Code is not a gay bar.
After failing to pass a medical marijuana bill last year, state Sen. Fred Mills, R-Parks, is telling supporters he will return in 2015 with legislation that focuses on different applications like oils and pills.
Voters, obviously, are not yet tuned into the 2015 ballot, despite the intriguing races it will host.
By now, the story of how longtime LSU coach Dale Brown discovered Shaquille O'Neal has been told many times: Brown happened upon a massive 13-year-old at an army base in Germany, stayed in touch with him and eventually became like a second father.
Fate simply wasn't ready to give the New Orleans Saints a break from longtime nemesis Steve Smith.
Lafayette Police have had a busy day.
Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration will use $130 million in patchwork financing from a tax amnesty program, insurance settlement, uninsured motorist penalties and other excess funds to close most of the state's midyear budget deficit.
Democratic U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu said she disagrees with President Barack Obama's actions on immigration, hoping the latest controversy doesn't worsen her campaign difficulties.
Gay-rights advocates challenging Louisiana's same-sex marriage ban announced Thursday that they have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review their case before it is heard by a federal appeals court.
Thinking himself the “son of God,” the man charged with the 2013 killing of an officer of the Chitimacha Tribal Police will not stand trial following a ruling Thursday on his mental competency.
Either Saints coach Sean Payton doesn't want to tip Baltimore off as to who'll start in New Orleans' secondary on Monday night, or he really doesn't know yet.
The Ethics Board gives the lame duck Youngsville mayor permission to offer a sweet parting gift to the community he’s presided over for three terms.
The money came through a general obligation bond sale Thursday.
A legend in the Acadiana Oil Patch, Comeaux died Monday, Nov. 17.
With a growing number of alleged sexual assault victims coming out against Bill Cosby in recent weeks, upcoming projects have been canned by NBC and Netflix, but that won’t affect the once-loved comedian and actor’s scheduled performance in Lafayette.