Parish Council replaces three Planning and Zoning members

Wade McIntyre

A crowd of citizens filling the Ascension Parish Council Chambers in Gonzales Nov. 19 succeeded in having Planning and Zoning Commission Chairman Alan Krouse unseated from the commission.

Krouse was one of the commission members who supported a new master planning document that was derailed earlier after a series of public meetings generated overwhelming lack of support for the controversial document.

The chairman was ousted after a roll call vote during the regular meeting with four councilmen absent.

    Councilmen Dennis Cullen, Adrian Thompson, and Chris Loar voted to keep Krause on the commission; Dempsey Lambert, George Valentine, and Todd Lambert voted to remove him from the voluntary commission.

    The tie was broken by Councilman Randy Clouatre, who cast the deciding vote that resulted in Crouse’s removal. Clouatre chaired the meeting in the absence of Council Chairman Pat Bell.

    Other absent councilmen were Oliver Joseph, Benny Johnson, and Kent Schexnaydre.

    Valentine led the council opposition to Krouse’s reappointment,

saying he had watched Krouse’s performance on the commission and that he urge council rejection of his nomination.

    “We have the opportunity for a clean break and need to take it,” he said.

    Krouse’s successor is expected to be named after the next Personnel Committee meeting considers candidates and sends a recommendation to the council.

    The council also appointed other new commission members to four-year terms during its meeting.  John B. Esnard Jr. of Gonzales and Daniel G. Satterlee of Prairieville were named to the commission, replacing Sherri Sliman and Beverly Barre’.

    Like Krouse, Sliman and Barre’ were supporters of the master plan proposed by parish government.

     Numerous persons spoke during the public comment period prior to the voting.

    Resident Samantha Thibodeaux said some members of the commission had insulted residents and talked down to them. She said those members needed to learn how to work with people in the parish.

    Parish resident Laura Fleetwood criticized the commission for allowing large subdivisions “to just pop up anyplace.”  The commission needs to consider traffic impacts in the parish before it considers growth with large subdivisions.

Resident John Peterson agreed with Fleetwood, saying the parish really needs infrastructure improvement,  “things like roads and sewer, before we look at high rise developments.”

Resident Craig Rushin said he was against reappointing any of the three members because they had shown “fidelity” to the failed master plan.

“They do not sit in the mainstream of this parish,” he said.

    Resident Theresa Robert spoke out against the “arrogant attitude” of some commission members, and reminded council members that they had not yet voted on the proposed master plan.

    All of the commissioners up for reappointment were in favor of the plan, and a vote for them would be a vote for it, she said.