Ascension Parish residents speak out against annexation of Pendarvis property _lowres


Property owners seeking to annex three acres into Gonzales weren’t at Monday night’s meeting when the City Council considered looking at the issue, but three residents opposed to the idea were.

Property owner Dempsey Pendarvis is asking the city to annex three acres of undeveloped land at the corner of La. 44 and La. 941, across from the 340-acre site that will be developed into a mixed-use community in Gonzales called Conway Plantation.

“Everything south of La. 941 is green, and it’s declared conservation,” said resident John Part, referring to the parish residential zoning in that area, which mandates one-acre lots.

If annexed into the city, the property would automatically be zoned for the city’s largest residential lot size, with 15,000-square-foot lots, Part noted, which is a big difference from the conservation zoning.

“I think if you would annex this into the city, it would just be a matter of timing” before other zoning was sought, Part said.

“There would be standing room only in here” if that happened, he said.

At the June 22 City Council meeting, Pendarvis brought up the issue of annexing his property into the city and said that, if it came about, it would possibly be the location of a convenience store with an area in the back for 18-wheelers to fuel up.

“Ironically, there’s no place in the city for a big truck to stop and get fuel,” Pendarvis said then.

Pendarvis owns a portion of the three acres, and his daughter-in-law Rachel Hodgeson owns the remainder.

Part of the property, he said, would also be taken up with a roundabout the Department of Transportation has studied to alleviate the traffic that’s expected to grow, with the coming of Conway Plantation, on the heavily traveled La. 44.

“It will be a highly trafficked commercial corner,” Pendarvis said three weeks ago. The City Council attorney asked at that time for updated information on the property.

Neither Pendarvis nor his daughter-in-law were at Monday night’s meeting.

Parish resident Theresa Robert said, “La. 941 east, for miles, is residential.”

“Please don’t even consider this. … We know he will ask for commercial” zoning later, Robert said.

A third resident, Kathryn Goppelt, also urged the City Council not to annex the property.

She noted that several pipelines run under La. 941, which would make putting in infrastructure difficult and expensive.

“You will be responsible for providing services for that property,” she said. “It does not currently have water and sewer.”

After the three residents spoke, Councilman Terance Irvin moved that the city table the introduction of the issue.

If the council takes it up in the future, there would still be a period of public notice before the council could vote on the annexation.

If the council would approve the annexation, it would go next to the federal Justice Department for approval, regarding its effect on voting districts.

Pendarvis had initially made such a request to the Gonzales City Council in December 2013, but at its next meeting, in January 2014, the council had also voted against the matter’s introduction for discussion.

Editor’s note: The headline was changed July 14, 2015, to show that the people who spoke out at the meeting were actually Ascension Parish residents, not Gonzales residents.