Youngsville obtains a golden mile of the new Ambassador Caffery, but will it be at the cost of future relations with Broussard?
By a 3-2 vote Wednesday evening, the Youngsville City Council approved an ordinance annexing a roughly mile-long strip of land on the south side of the newly opened Ambassador Caffery Parkway extension from just west of La. 89 to the just west of Bonin Road. It is the latest turf war in an ongoing battle for land along the new roadway in south Lafayette Parish and, based on the tension in the standing-room-only council chamber and the frequency with which Youngsville Mayor Wilson Viator wielded his gavel, a portent of things to come as Youngsville, Broussard and Lafayette scramble to acquire land in what promises to be a lucrative source of future sales tax revenue.
Depending on one’s reading of annexation law — opinions evidently differ even among various city-paid attorneys in the parish — Youngsville’s vote Wednesday effectively blocks Broussard from any further westward expansion along Ambassador. Or, if Broussard Mayor Charles Langlinais’ assertion is correct that annexations needn’t be contiguous from a city’s corporate limits, Wednesday’s action could be a precursor to litigation between the two cities.
Langlinais attended Wednesday’s meeting in an apparent effort to offer an olive branch to Youngsville. The Broussard City Council Tuesday night tabled an annexation ordinance that would have overlapped Youngsville’s plan; Youngsville already had certification of petitions from the requisite number of landowners and registered voters in the area, and many on the Youngsville side were wary of Langlinais’ overtures.
“Why is it that Broussard is wanting to jump over and get into areas that would be a golden opportunity for Youngsville to have commercial development?” asked Youngsville Councilman Tim Barbier.
Langlinais reminded the Youngsville officials twice during the meeting that the Ambassador extension would not have happened had the city of Broussard not put up $10 million to convince the state to complete the roadway to U.S. 90. And Langlinais asserted that all he wanted was an amendment to Youngsville’s annexation ordinance allowing Broussard to run water and sewer along the edge of Ambassador to reach property farther west of Bonin Road that Broussard intended to annex.
But Mayor Viator was having none of it, striking his gavel at least twice during the approximately 40-minute meeting to interrupt Langlinais. “Mayor, you’re out of order,” Viator said brusquely early in the meeting. “We’re not here to talk about sewer. We here to talk about Ambassador Caffery road. Stick to the subject.”
The meeting took on an additional level of heat when it was revealed that Youngsville Councilman Pat Huval, a presumptive challenger to Viator in the next mayoral election, had discussions with Langlinais about Youngsville’s annexation plans. Huval insisted those contacts were merely a matter of maintaining good relations with Youngsville’s neighboring town.
“I’m all about making money for the town of Youngsville so we can give back to the people,” Huval said.
“So why are we concerned about Broussard?” countered Barbier.
Youngsville’s city attorney, George Knox, made the most forceful case for proceeding with the annexation: “If I’m asked for my recommendation to you as the attorney, I say annex the property tonight,” Knox said. “If tomorrow we want to enter into negotiations with the city of Broussard … all those things are still open and will be available for discussion. But if you come in and you start altering what has been put forth and what has been published, you’re running the risk that the entire annexation is going to fall… My research shows we have 100 percent followed the letter of the law, and we’re ready to annex this property.”
Commercial development along the stretch annexed by Youngsville is expected by some estimates to generate more than $3 million in annual sales tax. Currently the city, which is overwhelmingly a bedroom community for the city of Lafayette with a lot of residential development and very little retail development, takes in just over $2 million per year in sales tax.
Shortly before the assembly voted and adjourned, Langlinais said, “The point that I’m trying to make to the citizens of Youngsville is, don’t poison the well.”
After the meeting, Langlinais told a Lafayette television reporter, “They poisoned the well.”
Here's your daily look at late-breaking national and international news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Tuesday, March 11, 2014:
Hopefully he’ll be better prepared today than he was in that Feb. 20 deposition.
They came by the hundreds, arriving from all regions of the state to gather on the steps of our Capitol in protest of the Legislature’s long tradition of giving industry the go-ahead to abuse our air, our water and our coastline, all in the name of good economics.
Gov. Bobby Jindal’s recent rhetoric against President Barack Obama has failed to boost his standing among the conservative base.
Louisiana's annual legislative session begins.
The state has hired marksmen to shoot feral hogs from helicopters at two wildlife management areas in south Louisiana.
The former star of Saturday Night Live throws in his 2 cents on the Big Oil lawsuit.
The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education has stalled action on a $3.5 billion annual school funding formula due to state lawmakers by March 15.
The New Orleans Saints have yet to make it official as of this writing, but popular wide receiver Lance Moore has reportedly been cut by the team to free up salary-cap space on the roster.
While two medical marijuana bills are slated for the upcoming legislative session, what some Louisianans might not know is that the plant was approved for therapeutic use by state lawmakers in 1991.
The agenda is shaping up to be lighter than in previous years. But Jindal is term-limited, with fewer than two years remaining in office, and he saw his last big initiative — a proposed rewrite of Louisiana tax law — collapse without getting a vote in 2013.
Sharper has been held without bail because of an arrest warrant issued by Louisiana authorities accusing him and another man of raping two women.
Two Lafayette men have been revealed by police as the infamous duo behind a caper that shook our fair city to its core.
The Lafayette Parish School Board has received a second letter of demand related to last year’s insurance debacle, this time from Key Benefit Administrators claiming it’s owed $93,000 from the school system.
The Louisiana coastline is vanishing faster than mappers can keep track.
A bill that would have overridden local ordinances prohibiting public and private employers from discriminating against lesbian, gay and transgender people has been pulled within less than a week of being filed.
The panel that selects nominees for a controversial New Orleans area flood control board — a board that is suing more than 90 oil, gas and pipeline companies — is set to discuss legislation affecting its independence.
State prison officials cannot keep secret the seller and manufacturer of the two drugs purchased for executions at the Louisiana State Penitentiary, a federal judge ruled Wednesday.
State lawmakers will not appeal a judge's ruling that it was improper to use $3.7 million from a probation and parole officers' retirement fund to balance the state's operating budget.
Conservatives have been losing their minds over this satirical bit on the Colbert Report.
The Lafayette Parish School Board leaves a lot to be desired, but is scrapping the election process in favor of an appointed board the answer?
The House approved legislation Tuesday night to roll back a recently enacted overhaul of the federal flood insurance program, after homeowners in flood-prone areas complained about sharp premium increases.
The NFL has formally designated New Orleans' Jimmy Graham as a tight end for the purposes of his franchise tag value, which is now set at $7.05 million next season unless Graham and the Saints subsequently agree on a long-term deal.
A federal appeals panel ruled Monday that businesses don't have to prove that they were directly harmed by BP's 2010 Gulf Of Mexico oil spill to collect settlement payments.
The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development has closed Interstate 10 from I-49 in Lafayette to Seigen Lane in Baton Rouge.