Sep 15, 2010 9:18 PM by Shawn Kline

Heated arguments over a zoning change in Opelousas

St. Landry Parish Sheriff Bobby Guidroz is sent looking for a new site for an administrative building.
This comes after a heated discussion at an Opelousas city council meeting.
A deal was in place for the Sheriff's office to buy an old Courvelle Toyota dealership between Main St. and Union in Opelousas and build a new administrative office.
Then, Opelousas City Council stepped in- denying a zoning change for the property and effectively killing the deal.
A zoning change property owner A.B. Courvelle says isn't the issue.
"Trying to rezone commercial property that is already commercial." Courvelle says, "it's a mute issue- it's commercial!"
Opposition to the change also came from Holy Ghost Catholic Church, which is right across the street from the old dealership.
Courvelle says he asked the church to buy the property- land parishioners say they would like to have.
However, Courvelle says the church rejected the offer.
Parishioners now say they fear what police activity would do to the community.
Father Jaison Mangalath pointed out, "we want to make sure that the environment around the church is kept appropriate."
A point city council agreed with and voted unanimously against the zoning change; leaving the Sheriff's office looking to buy land elsewhere and the owners looking to protect an abandoned property from turning into a hazard- that's if city council okay's it.
"Now I need (council) permission to give me a fence." Courvelle says, "I'll pay for it and then I'll sell it, but we'll have to have another meeting on that."
Another meeting to determine the fate of an abandoned building, still sitting idle for three years and counting.


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