[Update: On Tuesday night the City-Parish Council voted unanimously to pass the ordinance retroactively blocking the waste transfer facility, which is already under way off Sunbeam Lane.]
City-Parish attorney Mike Hebert has advised the City-Parish Council that a vote in favor of an ordinance to block the construction of a waste transfer station in an unincorporated section of Lafayette Parish will likely result in LCG paying millions of dollars in civil damages.
A six-page letter sent by Hebert to City-Parish Council members and obtained by The Daily Advertiser says the ordinance, proposed by District 3 Councilman Brandon Shelvin in response to outrage from residents who live near the construction site, would be equal to LCG “taking” the property from Waste Facilities and IESI, the two companies operating the facility.
The council is scheduled to vote on the ordinance at its regular meeting Tuesday night:
Hebert said Waste Facilities of Lafayette LLC has acquired permits and approvals to build the facility in accordance with all laws and regulations, meaning that Louisiana courts would “very likely” rule that Waste Facilities has a vested property right to its building permit.
“If Waste Facilities has acquired a vested property right to its building permit, a withdrawal or revocation of that permit would likely be held a ‘taking’ of property obligating LCG to pay compensation to Waste Facilities,” Hebert wrote.
In that situation, LCG could face not only a civil lawsuit from Waste Facilities, but similar claims from others who would lose business as a result of the revocation, such as contractors and affiliates of Waste Facilities. The company could use on grounds such as property acquisition costs, development and construction costs, relocation costs and business losses.
The outcome of blocking Waste Facilities’ construction could mirror that of the recent settlement LCG reached with Greyhound bus station, which sued LCG when the City-Parish Council denied Greyhound’s move to the old IberiaBank building on Moss Street. The administration warned the council then, too, that blocking the move would likely cost LCG millions in damages. The pending settlement will force LCG to pay more than $270,000 to Greyhound to purchase the Moss Street property, as well as offer more than $270,000 in free rent to Greyhound at the transportation center downtown for 20 years.
Read more from The Advertiser here.