The Gonzales Planning and Zoning Commission is recommending the city give the thumbs-up to a rezoning request for a downtown business expansion, as well as approve the site plan for a subdivision in Edenborne — contingent, however, on necessary water and traffic infrastructure being completed first.

Brian Marchand, owner of Marchand’s Interior and Hardware, spoke to the commission at its meeting Monday about plans to expand the family-owned store by more than 8,000 square feet. The store opened in 1949 on North Alexander Avenue in the oldest part of Gonzales.

“I’m hoping the finished project looks like one entity” that retains the residential look of the original store, Marchand said.

“I think the project would improve not only our property, but the city block,” he said.

Marchand said the project would tie in well with the city’s new master plan that calls for a renewed downtown area.

“We’re interested in downtown and I feel this would be a small step, a positive step to revitalize downtown,” he said.

The existing Marchand’s store is zoned commercial retail, and Marchand is asking that adjacent property owned by the company be rezoned from business to retail commercial, as well, for the expansion.

The Planning and Zoning Commission voted to recommend the rezoning to the City Council, which meets next on Monday.

The commission also heard from Deric Murphy, president of Quality Engineering and Surveying, who spoke on behalf of Level Homes of Baton Rouge. The company hopes to build a 350-home subdivision in the Edenborne development off La. 44 south of Interstate 10.

The city has been waiting on a number of infrastructure items from the developers of Edenborne, including construction of a four-lane boulevard through the community as well as water line work.

On Monday, City Engineer Jackie Baumann told the Planning Commission that the attorney for the city and the attorney for the development have agreed that, if site plans for the subdivision are approved by the City Council, the developers will complete the necessary infrastructure before any construction permits are issued.

Edenborne is home to River Parishes Community College. On Monday, Chancellor Dale Doty urged the commissioners to approve the subdivision.

“I am completely in favor of what they’re proposing to do here,” Doty said, particularly in light of the agreement over needed infrastructure in the development.

“If those things are going to be done, this is going to be a very beneficial project,” he said of the subdivision.

The Planning Commission voted to recommend the council approve the site plan, contingent on the infrastructure requirements being completed.

Editor’s Note: This story was changed on Dec. 7 to correct the date of the next City Council meeting.

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