Donaldsonville Council votes with Historic Commission

Greg Fischer Editor-in-chief
Before and after of historic home renovation in question.

After a heated debate where the word "war" was actually tossed around, the D'ville Council voted to deny an appeal by Police Officer Scott Charleville on June 25.

Basically, Charleville flipped a house that was in poor condition. The Historic Commission came down on him because he used vinyl windows in the restoration, which was argued to be against code.

"It's not in the best of shape, but that doesn't make it any less historical," Historic District Commissioner Liz Eure said, according to an article on the city's website.

Attorney Sid Marchand claimed that an ordinance cannot be found, which would give the commission firm ground to halt the restoration.

"Why us?" Marchand asked. "He's trying to do the right thing."

The council voted 3-1 in favor of the commission. Brent Landry was absent but sent a letter into the council adding his vote to deny the appeal. Councilman Brown was the lone vote in favor of Charleville.

The issue is that Charleville purchased an adjudicated property and made it look nicer than it did, to some people. Unfortunately, he said that to get up to code it would cost an additional $19,000.

The commission said that if they do not adhere to regulations, then they could lose their Historic District status, thus losing tax incentives and other vital things regarding the history and beauty of D'ville and Louisiana.

The house is located at the corner of Chetimatches and Claiborne streets. Regardless how one sides on the issue, the council has made a clear statement on the matter. Additionally, the Historic Commission often reaches out to get word from the community.

They held several town hall meetings in recent months with little turnout. Perhaps this will encourage greater dialogue and participation.