GONZALES — Eight months after Ascension Parish planning officials recommended rejecting a 155-home subdivision on the old Gonzales Country Club golf course amid vehement opposition from neighbors, the same officials backed a somewhat scaled-down project Wednesday on the same site with far less public outcry.
The parish Planning Commission voted 5-0 for the preliminary plat of the 127-home Legacy Oaks subdivision off Cornerview Road just outside the corporate limits in Gonzales. Commissioner Gasper Chifici was absent.
The northern edge of the subdivision abuts West Main Street and the New River Bayou while the project will share its only access in or out, to the south, with the new $16 million G.W. Carver Primary School, a prekindergarten to fifth-grade school.
The commission vote does not need to be ratified by the Parish Council.
The Planning Commission backed the 44.3-acre Legacy Oaks development under standard subdivision rules, which, thanks to tougher new parish requirements, call for park property in the new subdivision.
In April, developer Legacy Oaks LLC, which is owned by Ramon and Jeanette Rackley, came before the joint Planning and Zoning Commission and sought a planned unit development designation for the site.
As a PUD, the project would have had 3.7 homes per acre when the underlying zoning only allowed just three per acre. Drainage and flooding from New River were the major concerns as was traffic from the school and new homes onto Cornerview.
After more than 20 people spoke to the commission about the subdivision in April, the commission recommended denying the project and the Parish Council killed the PUD in June.
The new plan presented Wednesday hews to the underlying zoning, falling slightly under its density limits, and drew far less public comment.
With the reduced housing density, the staff did not recommend a left turn from Legacy Oaks Lane, the main road into the development, onto Cornerview.
In April, parish officials noted that a study of Carver Primary’s traffic alone had found that a left turn would be needed if Carver ever reached its maximum capacity of 720 students. The school has 587 students this fall. Its population has stayed largely flat the past three years, though new housing is coming to the area.
Ronald Daigle, 69, who lives across Cornerview from the subdivision, said he and his neighbors on Cornerview oppose Legacy Oaks because of the increased population.
But Steven Abramson, 76, of Gonzales, who opposed the project in April, said after the hearing Wednesday that the reduced density and the fact that the project is no longer a PUD has eased a lot of residents’ worries.
In other action Wednesday, the Joint Planning and Zoning Commission recommended in two 5-0 votes the Silver Oaks mixed-use planned unit development. The 28-acre complex of 36 single-family homes and 280 apartment units will tie into Germany Road and Airline Highway and share 2.6 acres of park space.
That vote, as a PUD, still needs Parish Council approval.
Follow David J. Mitchell on Twitter, @NewsieDave.