The Lafayette Consolidated Government Council voted 6-3 tonight to approve a measure that would prohibit large multi-family apartment complexes from being built along the Louisiana Avenue corridor.

The ordinance, brought before the council by Chairman Kenneth Boudreaux, amends the Unified Development Code to preserve the available real estate for commercial and retail developments, as well as smaller housing units, in the 688-acre overlay district.

Boudreaux said the amendment sets the table for "quality and upscale commercial opportunities" to develop in an area that needs more jobs and more income.

Though the approved measure prohibits large multi-family complexes, it does not prohibit residential development completely. "Mixed-use" developments, ones that include commercial and residential units, and single-family residences are still allowed.

Boudreaux was joined in supporting the measure by councilmen Kevin Naquin, Jay Castille, Brandon Shelvin, Donald Bertrand and William Theriot. Keith Patin, Jared Bellard and Andy Naquin voted in disapproval of the measure.

A contingent of representatives of LDG Development of Louisville, Ky. approached the council hoping to thwart the measure from passing because the company already has its eyes fixed upon developing a 288-unit low-income apartment complex on Louisiana Avenue across from Shadow Bluff Drive. Despite explanation from Director of Development Scott Brian that the company already invested approximately $225,000 in the initial stages of the $40-million project, the council chose to side with many members of the audience in disallowing the development.

The property, which LDG representatives said was under contract for purchase since July 1, was previously zoned for commercial developments, including large multi-family units, when the site was chosen. This fact raised questions pertaining to the municipal government's legal liability if the ordinance passed restricting the complex's development. City-Parish Attorney Michael Hebert told the council, in similar cases, the municipality was not held responsible for amending municipal codes even if it comes at a loss for the development company.

Before tonight's meeting, the Lafayette Zoning Commission recommended the council approve the amendment to the UDC.

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