Officials with the task force overseeing growth along Interstate 49 must now come up with suggested standards for land use along with corridor without dictating how it can be used.
Members of the I-49 Midway Corridor Growth Initiative, which is made of parish and municipal officials in Lafayette and St. Landry parishes in conjunction with the Acadiana Planning Commission, have identified land use as the biggest concern as development continues along the stretch of highway from Interstate 10 to the exit north of Washington.
Governing bodies have committed to a concept of unified development, said Katrena King, a regional planner and community development specialist with the APC. The task force will use land use guidelines set in place by the city of Carencro as a first guide, she said.
In Sunset, officials trying to visualize the town's future merely have to look to the city just to its south.
Carencro officials eschew traditional land use regulations in favor of guidelines that allow different developments to co-exist through adequate green spaces or buffer zones, city manager Don Chauvin said.
“Getting this right is important,” said Bill Rodier, CEO of the St. Landry Economic Development Office. “This planning effort will help us to more fully grasp the opportunities available to us and will provide a big benefit to all the communities along the corridor.”
The group must also put together an oversight body that is strong enough to make decisions but without code authority but also cannot override local government regulations, King said. It must also fund the next phase, which will also include marketing efforts.
Most of the stretch of I-49 features frontage roads, which are critical to commercial development. Carencro has had significant development along its eastern frontage road and is expecting another wave of it once the Amazon fulfillment center opens later this year.
A stretch in St. Landry Parish is also part of the Central St. Landry Economic Development District, which collects a penny sales tax for development along the corridor.