Planning commission rejects service road study; Lacombe not happy

DERON TALLEY, EDITOR @DeRonTalley

At its June 2 meeting, the Gonzales Planning and Zoning Commission voted against a proposed Interstate 10 service road study that city councilman Gary Lacombe wants implemented on the 2014-2014 budget. At the June 9 City Council meeting, Lacombe questioned the commissions vote and opposition, saying “I’m trying to understand how a motion to reject the project study goes through when we don’t even understand what the project entails yet.

“So how can you say no to a proposed project study?” Lacombe asked.

It’s no secret that Lacombe’s proposed study derailed the city’s upcoming budget, and forced Mayor Barney Arceneaux to veto the budget due to it being supported by Lacombe, and councilmen Tim Vessel and Terance Irvin.

Director of the Planning and Zoning Commission, Frank Cagnolatti, responded to Lacombe and the other members of the council by reminding them that any new road or road improvement “must first go through the Planning and Zoning Commission, to be followed by a public hearing.”

Lacombe asked, to be clear, there were no drawings or documents submitted, “so how do they vote on something that was never submitted to planning and zoning?

Terry Richey, a member of the Planning and Zoning Commission, took the podium to respond to Lacombe echoing Cagnolatti, but agreeing that there are no details to vote on.

“You never came to us and yet you put it on the agenda to add $800,000 to the budget,” Richey said. “It doesn’t make sense to do that without coming to us first.”

“That’s where the problem is, you never came to us,” Richey said.  “We had no other alternative but to reject it. A road must go through the planning commission. If we don’t want to do it, we will reject it. You’re right, you don’t have anything. You don’t have a map or anything for us to look at.”

Lacombe said the council is trying to appropriate funds to get the people intervened to submit drawings and specifications to do exactly that, “come to the planning and commission.”

“Are you suggesting we come to planning to ask if we can appropriate funds to do projects?” Lacombe asked Richey.

In response, Richey maintained that Lacombe should’ve come to the planning commission first.

“Not have your private meetings,” Richey said. “You need to man up and come to us the right way. We don’t care about the appropriation part, we just care about the planning part.”

Lacombe said the planning commission would “have ample opportunity to get intimately involved in the details of this project as it unfolds.”

But Richey responded and said, “You’re going to have to a hell of a lot better than the way you’re doing it right now to get it through us, I can tell you right now you have a long way to go.”

Mayor Arceneaux chimed in to bring relief to the discussion, but spoke in favor of the planning commissions vote.

“Mr. Lacombe, you said in the last meeting we had you admitted yourself you didn’t know if it could be $500,000 or whatever and you really don’t know,” Mayor Arceneaux said to Lacombe. “It’s the same thing. How do you expect us to vote on something when you never showed us anything and you don’t have a real figure, but you throw out $800,000?”

“It’s Gary’s world once again,” Mayor Arceneaux said.