Burnside community expresses grievances, city audit comes back with positive results

Leslie D. Rose
The Sept. 28 regular council meeting yielding a large public audience.

GONZALES – During the public comment period of the Sept. 28 Gonzales City Council meeting, members of the Burnside community expressed great concern with the possible annexation of the unincorporated area into the city of Gonzales.

     For more than ten minutes, Burnside residents, who lined the doorway, took turns explaining their points of contention, beginning with John Bart – a resident who had previously voiced his issues about the matter at council meetings.

     It was back on June 22 that Dempsey Pendarvis addressed the Gonzales City Council requesting property he owns at the corner of Burnside Ave. and Loosemoore Road be annexed into the city limits. The item was to be furthered discussed at the July 27 council meeting, but was was deleted from the agenda at the request of the owner.

     The property originally sought annexation in Dec. 2013 at the request of his daughter Rachel Hodgeson – Pendarvis submitted the paperwork from that initial request.

     At the Sept. 28 meeting Bart addressed the mayor and his councilmen in an upset about the item not being listed under the meeting agenda. Mayor Arceneaux allotted Bart more than the standard three minutes for his public comment, but had to later interrupt him as his remarks well exceeded the allotment.

     “We think it’s a bad decision for our community,” Bart said of the possible annexation. “Our main reason against this proposal is simply doesn’t fit in the area.”

     Bart expressed that the area is zoned for family homes and not businesses.

     “That’s why we say a truck stop, or a convenience store, or fast food type thing just doesn’t belong there,” Bart said. “It just doesn’t belong in there with those homes – it would decrease property value.”

      As the Burnside community continued their remarks, including one resident advising the council that the residents will seek litigation if the city goes forward with annexation, Mayor Arceneaux chimed in to advise that the city doesn’t seek out areas for annexation.

     “We don’t go out and look for it on our own,” Arceneaux said. “An owner will come here [seeking annexation]. The owner will make that request to us – never do we go out on our own – just clearing the air.”

     The Ascension Veterans Association also spoke during the public comment period, to urge Gonzales residents to take part in the upcoming veterans parade, to be held Nov. 8. Participants are needed and interested vets may contact (225) 485-7875.

     Mayor Arceneaux proclaimed the day Stem Gems Day in Gonzales. The award was presented to Alsie Dunbar who founded the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math mentorship program for girls.

     “I just want to thank Alsie for all she does for the city of Gonzales,” Councilman Matassa said. “If there were more like Alsie, these young people wouldn’t have any problems, so I appreciate everything you do.”

     A final vote passed on Ordinance 3078 to amend the code of ordinance chapter 22 regarding zoning. The request, made by Sal Amato on behalf of S. Burnside Ave., would rezone Tract 1A3 and 1B3 situated on the west side of S. Burnside Ave. from its existing R-15 zone to an I-1 zone.

     Discussion was held to move to vote the intergovernmental agreement between the City of Gonzales and the Ascension Parish Communications District to establish user fees for programming, maintenance, dispatch and tower services associated with the radio communication systems. Chief of Police Sherman Jackson and a member of the Gonzales Fire Dept. were included in the discussion to advise of the city’s savings and program benefits – the item was moved for a vote.

     Also moved to vote was an ordinance authorizing the mayor to advertise and place for sale the house at 642 W. Orice Roth Road. Sale details will later be determined.

     A representative of Postlethwaite & Netterville accounting presented the city’s 2015 fiscal year audit. The report showed Gonzales with all positive results in each area audited. City employees were celebrated for their efficient work.

     “Our reports didn’t find any instances of deficiencies,” the auditor said.

     The Engineering and Public Works report boasted point repairs in the rehabilitation of old sewer lines are 100% complete. Comprehensive study of La. 30 at Purpera plans are 90% underway and due on Oct. 9. Preliminary plans for the La. 44 pavement preservation are due to DOTD on Oct. 6. The dog park pedestrian bridge construction has begun with site grading underway.