GONZALES — The Gonzales Planning and Zoning Commission is recommending the city approve an Ascension Parish School Board request for a special use permit to bring modular buildings to school district property.
The modular buildings would house two departments displaced by the 2016 flood. The two departments, technology and truancy, were formerly at a school district facility in Sorrento that suffered heavy flood damage. Since then, the departments have been operating in temporary locations.
The School Board's special-use permit request proposes bringing a modular building for each department to residential-zoned property on Pupera Road between Pecan Grove Primary School and the school district's data center.
Two residents of City Place Street, near the school district's property, spoke in opposition to the modular buildings, at a public hearing Monday during the Planning and Zoning Commission meeting.
Edgar Amadee, whose backyard is adjacent to the property, said the modular buildings would be 20 to 25 yards from his house.
"It's going to bring property values down," Amadee said of the buildings.
Brenda Smith, another resident of City Place, said that while she's pleased with the look of the school district's data center, a traditional building on the property, she is not pleased about modular buildings.
"I think the school system does do a good job with their buildings," Smith said. "I do understand we've gone through a flood, but I don't think it's right to degrade an area."
Architect Tommy Dauzat, with Mougeot Architecture of Baton Rouge, the firm working on the project for the school district, said the buildings would sit on foundations and would have a residential look, with improved facades and landscaping.
"I want to reiterate. They (the school district) are willing to do whatever it takes so it fits in with the neighborhood," Dauzat said.
Commissioners Eddie Williams, Frank Cagnolatti and John Lanoux voted to recommend that the City Council approve the school district's permit request, with Commissioner Lane Edmonston voting against it.
The City Council will vote on the issue at its next meeting, which has been moved from March 12 to March 19.