LAFAYETTE — A survey planned for Wednesday to map out what Lafayette Parish officials say is the real boundary with Vermilion Parish has been postponed while the two parishes battle in court.
The survey would be a major step in Lafayette’s attempt to establish a new parish line after voting to void a 2002 boundary agreement between the parishes that was once thought to have settled the lingering border dispute.
Attorneys on both sides of the case said the survey will be postponed pending litigation over the issue.
The Lafayette City-Parish Council last year voted to back out of the boundary agreement, citing historical records in an argument that the 12-year-old truce was based on incomplete research and gave land to Vermilion Parish that should have stayed in Lafayette Parish.
“The result of that error is about 1,000 acres,” said Lafayette attorney Gary McGoffin, who represents city-parish government in the dispute.
Vermilion Parish filed a lawsuit in August asking a judge to rule that Lafayette must abide by the 2002 agreement as it would any other binding contract.
McGoffin said city-parish government plans to respond with arguments that the line the two parishes agreed to was based on errors so serious that Lafayette should not be held to it.
Both McGoffin and Vermilion Parish’s attorney, Paul Moresi III, said the planned survey of the new boundary will be delayed pending a resolution of the legal issues at play.
No court date has been set.
“I think what’s probably going to happen is what we expected: It will end up in court, sooner rather than later,” said City-Parish Councilman Don Bertrand, who for years has talked of the need to revisit the boundary dispute.
Under the 2002 agreement, both parishes asked the state Land Office to research the line and agreed to adopt whatever boundary the state agency drew.
After voting to back out of the agreement in 2013, the City-Parish Council voted earlier this year to adopt a new line based on what Bertrand argued is more thorough historical research on where the border was when it was originally drawn in 1844.
The planned survey was for the parish line on the west side of the Vermilion River, and questions still remain about precisely where the line should be on the east side of the river, Bertrand said.