Developer files suit against parish council

A lawsuit has been filed against the St. Mary Parish Council as a result of its denial of a permit to construct an apartment complex in Garden City.
Developer Lloyd Harris Jr. filed the petition Thursday in 16th Judicial District Court.
Harris is proposing to build a 168-unit complex on an 11-acre plot on La. 3215 that is zoned high-density residential.
The council voted Wednesday to deny the development after hearing opposition from nearby residents and receiving a petition with almost 350 signatures of individuals also against the proposal.
Exhibits in the lawsuit that cite the council’s efforts to market housing development include:
—Adoption of an ordinance in November 2008 permitting its Industrial Development Board to offer and promote a tax exemption and construction finance package for owners or developers of multi-family housing units.
—Adoption of an ordinance in December 2009 rezoning the La. 3215 property from agricultural to high-density residential.
—Approval of the parish Planning and Zoning Commission recommendation in June on subdivision of the property and preliminary approval for Harris to proceed with the property development.
—A letter to Harris from parish Economic Development Director Frank Fink on parish economic data.
The petition asks for an injunction requiring the council to issue the development permit and a declaratory judgment ruling that the council’s denial as unconstitutional “due to it’s (sic) arbitrarily, capricious and unreasonable decision.”
The parish council is slated to discuss the lawsuit in executive session during its regular meeting Wednesday.

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