Gonzales City Council sends rezoning proposal back for further study

Lisa Yates

The Gonzales City Council voted unanimously Monday to send a rezoning request back to its Planning and Zoning Commission for further study.

Estate representatives from M.P. Evans, the company developing the land, asked for the change. The request involved changing 341 acres of land along I-10 and La. 44, from residential to a mixture of commercial and residential use.

Dozens of residents signed up to speak in opposition of the proposal before the council decided to send it back for review.

"I'd like to commend ya'll," Theresa Robert said following the vote. "We asked to be able to participate in the process – That was our biggest concern."

Robert said the proposed rezoning request had been too vague and sufficient time had not been allotted to studying the request from developers.

Kathyrn Goppelt said the concerns of 15 heirs should not be more important than 100,000 people in the parish.

"This negotiation will have a lasting impact on our city and our parish," she said during the meeting. "We want to make our city better."

Al Robert called the proposal an economic issue.

"There's no rush to do this," he said. "Let's do it right for the city of Gonzales."

Other residents cited concerns the new development would bring such as traffic, drainage and flooding problems, pipeline issues, school overcrowding, and loss of a rural way of life.

Only one man spoke as a proponent of the the proposal – Dempsey Pendarvis.

"You can't have rural integrity at somebody else's expense," he said. "Property development makes property values go up."

Pendarvis said it's important to put aside personal interests and think of the good of the entire community.

"If it's good for the community, it's good for all of us," he said.

Frank Cagnolatti with the Planning and Zoning Commission also spoke during the meeting, reassuring residents their concerns are being addressed.

"We take our work very seriously," he said. "If you've got a question, call us. We don't do anything behind closed doors."

He said meetings are held the first Monday of each month at 6 p.m.