NI Planning & Zoning denies recommendation to rezone a residential property to commercial

The New Iberia Planning and Zoning Commission voted to deny a recommendation to rezone a residential property to commercial after an hour-long discussion.

On the agenda was a request to turn two properties near Weeks and Hacker streets into a commercial zone after one of the owners began a detergent-related business at one of the lots.

The property belongs to Ryan Willis, who was not present at Wednesday’s meeting, but is hoping for the zoning change to operate a business at the location. His mother, Mary Thompson, is the owner of the other lot where a house is located.

Planning and Zoning Direct Janue Braud said the vote was to determine whether the lots should be turned from R-2 to C-3, a relatively large jump in zoning that would allow for multiple uses of the property.

Braud said that the surrounding properties are zoned either C-1 or C-3 as well. Although Braud said that she had received no objections to the measure, there were photographs sent showing a tractor trailer unloading a haul at the property.

“I talked to Ryan about that, that questions may come up because the surrounding area behind Weeks Street is residential, the fire station is right across the street and there are photographs of 18-wheelers unloading,” Braud said.

Mary Thompson, who was present at the meeting to speak on behalf of her son, said the haul was a rare occurrence and would not happen again.

One of the problems the commission had was that the C-3 designation would allow for multiple uses of the property if it was sold. Although there were nearby C-3 properties, those were grandfathered in following the establishment of New Iberia’s zoning laws.

Another problem was calls made to some commission members about garbage being stored at one of the lots.

Commission members debated tabling the item, entertained the idea of using a special use permit instead of a zoning change and several options before making the vote. Braud told the commission that the decision on the specific item would have to be made, however.

Ultimately, the board chose to deny the recommendation for the zoning change. The recommendation will be brought before the New Iberia City Council, which will make the final decision on the measure.

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