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The property on the left along Girard Park Drive and the parking lot of a Lafayette General Medical Center office building may be used for apartments or town homes under the Oil Center Redevelopment Plan.

Property along Girard Park Drive, much of which is owned by Lafayette General, will not be rezoned to allow for construction of high-density apartments.

The Lafayette City-Parish Council voted Tuesday in favor of Girard Park area residents who opposed the proposed rezoning. The planning commission, in November, also sided with residents of the neighborhood.

Six parcels of property on Hospital Drive at Coolidge Drive will be zoned to commercial mixed.

The rezoning is part of phase 1 of the Oil Center Redevelopment Plan, the medical center portion, created for the Oil Center in 2018 by the Downtown Development Association's Development and Design Center and adopted by the planning commission.

The Oil Center Plan called for the Girard Park Drive rezoning to allow for the construction of up to 42 apartment units per acre, two and three stories tall, compared with 17 apartment units allowed under the existing zoning. Hospital representatives previously indicated the apartments would provide housing for medical residents working at Lafayette General.

Lafayette Consolidated Government planning staff indicated the plan is designed to make the Oil Center more pedestrian friendly and increase mixed-use of commercial and residential.

Homeowners on and near Girard Park Drive objected to the rezoning that would allow so many apartments on the heavily-traveled street and among high-end homes. When the Oil Center redevelopment plan was being developed, some said, residents and homeowners were not consulted or invited to add input.

Part of the property in question, at the corner of Girard Park Drive and Hospital Drive, was involved in a 2005-06 controversy in which property owner Jimmy Davidson made a deal with Ray Authement, then president of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, to trade 4.1 acres of Davidson property on Girard Park Drive for 36 acres of the UL horse farm on Johnston Street. That deal fell through in part because of scrutiny from The IND newspaper and the Save the Horse Farm movement. The city bought the horse farm property from the university and it is being developed into Moncus Park.

Residents told the planning commission in November a neighborhood covenant that dates back to the 1940s, plus an agreement that's part of an earlier legal settlement over the Davidson property, limits the height of apartment buildings on the property.

More than 70 properties are in phase 2 of the Oil Center redevelopment plan, which will be addressed by LCG planning staff in 2020.

Email Claire Taylor at ctaylor@theadvocate.com.