GONZALES — A district court judge who sued the city of Gonzales and three councilmen earlier this year over a rezoning issue has dropped the councilmen from his suit, noting that two of them are no longer on the council.
The city remains a defendant in the suit that asks that the city approve the rezoning request made by the plaintiffs.
Judge Alvin Turner Jr., of the 23rd Judicial District Court, and his wife, Cherlynn, sued the city and Councilman Terance Irvin and then-councilmen Gary Lacombe and Timothy Vessel in August after the council voted 3-2 to reject the couple’s request to rezone property they owned to a smaller lot size.
On Wednesday, the Turners filed a motion to dismiss and noted in the filing that Lacombe resigned as a City Councilman Nov. 25 and Vessel was booted from office by voters in a recall election Dec. 6.
Lacombe also was on the recall ballot but resigned before the election, so the votes cast in his election were not counted. A grass-roots effort to oust Lacombe and Vessel started last spring, in part, because the three, including Irvin, were voting in a bloc on the five-member council.
The judge said in the motion he’s dismissing the suit against the three councilmen to stop the depletion of funds from the city.
“As a result, the city of Gonzales can now move forward to an amicable resolution of this matter,” the motion says.
The city retained two attorneys in the matter: one for the three councilmen named in the suit and one for the city, represented by the mayor, who opposed the three councilmen’s vote on the zoning issue.
Legal fees for New Orleans attorney Robert Barnett, who represented the three councilmen from September through Nov. 10, were $24,717.
Fees for the city’s attorney, Dwight Poirrier, of Gonzales, for September and October were $9,380.