NEW IBERIA — The developer of a proposed mobile home park in Iberia Parish will have to meet the requests of Iberia Parish government’s Permitting, Planning and Zoning Commission if he hopes to get the Iberia Parish Council to sign off on the development.
Shawn Pourciau, the man behind the proposed Safe Haven Mobile Home Park, declined comment Wednesday after the commission voted 12-2 to deny preliminary approval for the development, in keeping with the commission’s recommendation. Voting against denying approval were council members Natalie Broussard and Ricky Gonsoulin.
Permitting, Planning and Zoning Director John Raines said the commission made its unanimous decision against approval at its April 14 meeting based on concerns related to development in that area. The proposed project is to be on unincorporated land located off Jack Brooks Road just south of U.S. 90 and west of the Lydia community.
The concerns included a lack of water, sewer and fire hydrant systems, formal drainage for stormwater, pickup points for school buses (which cannot use private roads) and increased traffic through the area.
Although the property “has a permitted use according to the (zoning) ordinance,” Raines said, the concerns are enough for the commission to deny approval. That property has been zoned for industrial use since the parish adopted a zoning ordinance in 2009.
Pourciau, his attorney, New Iberia-based Burton Cestia, and his engineer, New Iberia-based Wayne LaBiche, argued for the commission to approve the plans Wednesday, claiming they had technically satisfied all of the parish’s legal requirements and would have to meet any further requests by the parish to continue their work anyway.
The plans presented indicated spots for 56 mobile homes, the requisite water treatment plant, a centralized trash disposal location and a playground for children.
“I ask that you vote on these rules and regulations, which are your rules and regulations,” LaBiche said. “Unless I’m missing something, we’ve met your ordinance.”
LaBiche said the Federal Emergency Management Agency showed the property was 1,000 feet from the nearest flood zone and that storm flooding was directed to a ditch near the property’s center that had previously been excavated. Although the roads for the development would remain private, he said, they would match or exceed the standard of the parish’s roads anyway.
There, however, remained concerns about the single access point to the project — which could conceivably inhibit fire response access — and the general safety of a mobile home park during hurricanes and other tropical storms.
The development faced significant opposition from residents of adjacent neighborhoods, many of whom packed the commission’s chambers Wednesday evening. Emily Kyzar, one of the residents, spoke on behalf of the others and expressed largely the same concerns from Permitting, Planning and Zoning. She presented a petition signed by neighborhood residents against the project.
“Where’s all this water and sewage going to go from these homes?” Kyzar asked. “You’re talking about maybe doubling the population in our neighborhood, but with our location and infrastructure, I don’t know how that’s going to happen.”
Cestia touted the development as a new business venture in the parish and an opportunity for a young businessman to stay local instead of moving. The commission’s legal adviser, Assistant District Attorney Andy Shealy, shot down that argument as a “red herring” to parish government’s legitimate concerns about the project’s potential ramifications to the area.