GONZALES — The Gonzales Planning and Zoning Commission agreed Monday that a climate-controlled storage facility would be a good use of the former Albertson’s supermarket building at Airline and Burnside and will recommend that the City Council approve a rezoning request for the new project.
And, the commission is flirting with the idea of addressing three other zoning issues that had been denied by the council.
On Monday, Joel Robert, a part owner of A&T Enterprises, of Gonzales, spoke to the commission about his company’s plans for a new use of the old supermarket building that’s been vacant for almost 10 years.
The building, at a little over 63,000 square feet, is in good condition, Robert said. With parking space limited by a Walgreens store built near the former supermarket, “a climate-controlled storage facility would be ideal,” he said.
The approximately 2.78-acre tract where the old Albertson’s sits is zoned C-1 commercial for retail. A&T Enterprises had originally sought a zoning change of C-2, to the next level of commercial, which includes warehouse and minor fabrication businesses.
However, the Planning and Zoning Commission advised instead that the property remain C-1, with a special-use permit specifically for the storage business, a zoning type that’s actually more restrictive than C-2 zoning, commission members pointed out.
“I think that avenue gives you a lot more control. It will be very specific” that (the special-use permit) is for the storage business “and that’s all they can use it for,” said City Clerk Clay Stafford, who was asked by commission members to describe for the audience how a special-use permit works.
If the storage business were to leave at some point, “the property itself retains C-1” zoning for retail, Stafford said.
After the meeting, Robert said A&T Enterprises has a purchase agreement with the New York company that currently owns the property, pending a zoning change.
The Gonzales City Council will vote on the commission’s recommendation at the council’s next meeting on Dec. 10.
Also on Monday, Planning and Zoning Commission Chairman Frank Cagnolatti suggested the commission consider revisiting rezoning requests made earlier this year and rejected 3-2 by the City Council.
The makeup of the council changed last week, when Councilman Gary Lacombe resigned on Nov. 25, two weeks before a recall election on Dec. 6 seeking the ouster of both Lacombe and Councilman Timothy Vessel.
Cagnolatti named three rezoning requests in particular, one by the Keating family, from retail to light industrial for a storage facility business it had sought; another by Judge Alvin Turner Jr., with the 23rd Judicial District Court, from a larger lot size to a smaller lot size for property he owned; and a third by a local developer, from C-1 to C-2 for a location of an electric supply company.
The first two parties filed suits, still pending against the city, after their rezoning requests were denied.
Commissioner John Lanoux on Monday recommended the commission wait instead to see if the parties who had asked for the rezonings bring the requests back to the commission.
Six months have gone by since all the requests were originally made, the time required to bring a matter before the Planning and Zoning Commission again, Lanoux said.
Stafford, the city clerk, said that in two of the cases the issues may be resolved in litigation.