Council Preview: Short-term rentals, long-term issue now before City Council

Here is a selection of items on the agendas for this week’s meetings of the City and Parish councils. To see the full agendas, check out the links below:

Lafayette 101
Zoning

Every parcel in the city limits of Lafayette has a specific zoning type defined in the Lafayette Development Code. Zoning controls what types of uses are allowed where, such as commercial versus residential operations, and local laws set a specific process for variations or special uses that is generally subject to the City Council’s discretion.

Parish Council

Final Adoption

Temporary shelter. Mayor-President Josh Guillory’s administration is offering an ordinance that would waive local zoning rules against temporary shelters in the wake of disasters as part of a state program. Lafayette’s participation in the Temporary Housing and Shelter Assistance Program wouldn’t add funding for emergency shelters but would allow the survivors of disasters to install mobile homes, RVs and other temporary housing next to their normal residences following major disasters.

Introduction

Drainage plan. Guillory’s administration is asking the Parish Council to add $200,000 to its budget for a comprehensive parishwide drainage plan, which was contracted to engineering firm CSRS in 2021. The City Council budgeted $500,000 to pay for the plan last summer. As of November, CSRS had produced a first phase assessment of the parish’s drainage infrastructure and stormwater data.

City Council

Reports

Adjudications. City Council Chair Glenn Lazard has a discussion on LCG's policies procedures and enforcement actions related to adjudicated properties set for Tuesday's meeting. Adjudications, which are concentrated on the city's neglected north side, put properties in legal limbo, sometimes tying them up for years, leading to blight and disinvestment.

Final Adoption

$50,000 for mental health. An ordinance by Council Chair Glenn Lazard would provide $50,000 in federal COVID-19 funds to Focus Clubhouse, which specializes in adult mental healthcare resources. The ordinance was originally scheduled for a final vote at the council’s June 6 meeting, but it has repeatedly been deferred in recent weeks.

Electric car charging. Two ordinances up for final votes Tuesday would authorize LUS to accept an $83,000 grant to install five electric car charging stations and charge users 20 cents per kilowatt-hour to use them as part of a national settlement with Volkswagen following the international auto giant’s diesel emissions scandal. The funding will pay for four Level 2 chargers and one DC fast charger, which can refill the battery of a large electric car in as little as an hour. LUS has not announced where the charging stations will be installed. 

Temporary shelter. The City Council will also vote on an ordinance Tuesday to waive local zoning rules against temporary shelters in the wake of disasters as part of a state program. Lafayette’s participation in the Temporary Housing and Shelter Assistance Program wouldn’t add funding for emergency shelters but would allow the survivors of disasters to install mobile homes, RVs and other temporary housing next to their normal residences following major disasters.

Introduction

STRs. Short-term rentals have been a long-term political issue for the City Council, which is now looking at two paths toward requiring operators of Airbnbs, VRBOs and others to obtain annual licenses to operate in the city. One plan would allow them to operate in essentially any part of the city that contains housing, while the other would prohibit them from operating in areas zoned for single-family homes, which account for about 75% of the residential areas in Lafayette. Both would require entire dwellings to be rented, not individual rooms, and are set to be introduced at Tuesday’s meeting, tentatively putting final votes on the council’s July 25 agenda. 

Customer service. LUS is seeking approval from the City Council to buy the old IberiaBank building on Congress Street near Independence Boulevard for a new customer service center at a price of $1.6 million. Funding for the purchase would come from LUS and would be about $1 million below the city-owned utility’s budget for the expansion, not including the cost of potential renovations.

Joint Items

Final Adoption

No significant items.

Introduction

Selling Trappey. Both councils will consider an ordinance Tuesday to sell 15.8 acres of land along the Vermilion River to the Trappey Riverfront Development group for about $2 million. The move would add to 9 acres already owned by the group at the site of the old Trappey cannery, which is planned to become a riverfront development to revitalize the long-neglected industrial area.

Community grants. The councils will also give preliminary consideration to a trio of ordinances (one, two, three) setting LCG’s annual budget for its federal Community Development Block Grant funds, which pass federal funds through to community organizations and support programs. LCG is in line for $715,000 to address low-income housing needs and $1.6 million for other housing and community services, like job placement and nonprofit support.

Property

AddressApprovalAction
500 block of Joli Road
Parish CouncilDeveloper’s appeal of Planning Commission requirements for platting
500 block of Tolson RoadParish CouncilNeighbor’s appeal of Planning Commission approval of platting
209 W Milton Ave.Parish CouncilDeveloper’s appeal of Planning Commission requirements for platting
210 Encore Lane, ScottParish CouncilCondemnation [Final]
203 Country Run Drive, BroussardParish CouncilCondemnation [Final]
203 Celine St., CarencroParish CouncilCondemnation [Final]
111 Amite DriveParish CouncilCondemnation [Final]
904 & 908 E Vermilion St. Joint CouncilsDonation of adjudicated properties to non-profit Focus Clubhouse, Inc [Intro]
206 California St. & 403 Attakapas RoadJoint CouncilsDonation of adjudicated properties to non-profit Beyond
the Bus Foundation [Intro]
244 & 250 Huval StreetJoint CouncilsDonation of adjudicated properties to non-profit Coco Tribe of Canneci Tinne [Intro]
116 E Vermilion St.City CouncilZoning permit to expand existing bar [Final]
323 Portlock St.City CouncilCondemnation [Final]
116 Drain St.City CouncilCondemnation [Final]
715 Elizabeth St.City CouncilCondemnation [Final]
118 Chag St.City CouncilCondemnation [Final]
400 block of Ridge RoadCity CouncilRezoning from Commercial Heavy (CH) to Mixed-Use Neighborhood (MN-2) [Intro]
812 West Butcher Switch RoadCity CouncilAnnexation [Intro]
2 Eureka Plantation Road #ACity CouncilAnnexation [Intro]
306 & 312 S Domingue Ave.City CouncilAnnexation [Intro]
201-301 Devalcourt St., 101 & 105 Carl St. City CouncilRezoning from Commercial Heavy (CH) to Mixed-Use Neighborhood (MN-1) [Intro]
200-218, 301 & 307 Ella St.; 110 Shirley St.; 107-207 Carl St.; 220, 301, 302 and a portion of 303 Rayburn St.City CouncilRezoning from Commercial Heavy (CH) to Residential Mixed (RM-2) [Intro]
304 Ella St.City CouncilRezoning from Commercial Heavy (CH) to Residential Single-Family (RS-1) [Intro]
Planned council actions related to property, such as rezonings, annexations and disposition of adjudicated properties

Vacancies

BoardApprovalQualifications
Bayou Vermilion District BoardCity CouncilApplicants must be members of a racial minority and residents of Lafayette Parish
Evangeline Thruway Redevelopment TeamCity CouncilNone listed
Keep Lafayette Beautiful CommitteeCity CouncilNone listed
Send resumes to [email protected] no later than noon Tuesday, July 25.

Appointments

BoardApprovalApplicants
Lafayette Economic Development Authority Board (racial minority seat)Parish CouncilWayne K. Phillips (incumbent), Michelle M. Williams
Lafayette Economic Development Authority BoardParish CouncilJustin T. Callais, Blake R. David (incumbent), Mark A. Dore (incumbent), Wayne K. Phillips (incumbent), Michelle M. Williams
Lafayette Economic Development Authority Board (racial minority seat)City CouncilWayne K. Phillips (incumbent), Michelle M. Williams
Lafayette Economic Development Authority BoardCity CouncilJustin T. Callais, Blake R. David (incumbent), Mark A. Dore (incumbent), Wayne K. Phillips (incumbent), Michelle M. Williams
Lafayette Preservation CommissionJoint CouncilsFelicia Kaplan, appointed by Mayor-President
Evangeline Thruway Redevelopment TeamCity CouncilAnne Famoso