OPELOUSAS — The Board of Aldermen voted unanimously Tuesday to introduce an ordinance next month that proposes rezoning the city’s central business district to include residential use.

Alderman Blair Briggs said the area that includes the St. Landry Parish Courthouse and Opelousas City Hall is zoned primarily for businesses and parish and municipal government buildings.

Briggs said the ordinance would allow construction of apartments and the conversion of buildings now used for commercial purposes into residences.

Changing the ordinance would help the revitalization of the city’s downtown area, which includes many vacant buildings, Briggs said.

Rosemary St. Clergy said the area affected by the proposed ordinance is within the city’s historic district. She told the board that plans to change the facades of existing buildings will have to be presented to members of the district before work on the structures can begin.

Mayor Donald Cravins Sr. said a public hearing will be held at next month’s meeting prior to any action taken.

In another matter:

PARKING TICKET FEE: The board also voted without opposition to amend a 28-year-old ordinance that increases the amount paid for municipal parking violations to $25.

The cost of a parking ticket under the previous ordinance passed in 1983 was $5.

Lavonda Malveaux, who represented Opelousas City Court, said fines previously received from offenders under the old ordinance did not pay for processing the parking tickets.

What the city collected in parking fines under the previous ordinance was well below what is being collected in other municipalities of similar size, according to a survey performed by city court, Malveaux said.