It was a much different outcome at the April 14 Zachary City Council meeting for property management company Maestri-Murrell, of Baton Rouge.
At the March 24 meeting, the council voted 3-2 against the company’s site plan review prohibiting a rezone of the property adjacent to Zachary Parkside Apartments.
“You refused to accept the site plan review and refused the recommendation of planning and zoning, but will you give us a reason as to why you voted no?” said Lawrence Maestri at the March meeting.
The company then appealed to the council to consider rezoning the La. 964 property from urban center to residential urban, cautioning that a more commercial zoning status would make for an unsafe environment for nearby residents.
After much debate, the Council re-voted 4-1 in favor of allowing the issue to be tabled until the April meeting, with Councilman Ben Cavin casting his vote against the measure.
This time around, Maestri-Murrell was given the go ahead to begin building the 40 additional residential units after two unanimous votes by the council approving a resubdivision of the property and the site plan review. However, when it came time to vote for the rezone, Cavin again cast the only nay vote, saying he would have preferred to keep the zoning the same but issue a waiver.
Council majority voted in favor of the zoning change, 4-1.
Also on the agenda, the Council discussed the possibility of rolling Zachary’s current 3.17 millage rate forward, causing a $50 annual increase to property taxes.
“Even if we decide to do it, you’re looking at 2017 before any tax is collected from this,” said Mayor David Amrhein. “It won’t be a big impact on residents and most won’t even notice.” Chief Financial Officer Steve Nunnery said the last time Zachary’s rate changed was in 1999-2000, when the city rolled the millages from 3.29 to its current 3.17.
The city has the authority to raise the rate to 5.79 mills before it must go to a vote of the people, Nunnery said.
Council members agreed that the impact would be minimal to residents and that the city must have the ability to draw operating funds from sales taxes.
The percentage of the increased millage was left undetermined but the council agreed to merely discuss the amount and consider an ordinance at the April 28 meeting.
PUBLIC SAFETY: The council approved Brandon Noel’s proposal to place two stop signs at the intersection of 38th and Main streets to create a four-way.
“People take that route to avoid stop signs on 39th Street and just fly through,” said Noel, who called upon Zachary Police Chief David McDavid and Capt. Randy Aulds to offer their input.
The property near the intersection is adjacent to Councilman Cavin’s home, which caused him to abstain from voting.
The remaining council members voted to approve the four-way stop.
NEW BUSINESS: Sharon Phillips, who handles all media and public relations for the Mayor’s office, shared plans for a Christmas lights display at the Zachary Historic Village.
Phillips said James Hohensee, of Hohensee Family Christmas Lights in Central, draws thousands of people each holiday season with his lights programmed to music and has developed a plan to decorate downtown Zachary.
The proposal, which includes a “mega tree,” can be added to the annual budget as funds allow.
The Council made a motion to award the bid to Hohensee contingent upon funding.
The Zachary City Council will meet again at 6:30 p.m. April 28.