Acadiana Business

Planning Commish approves UDC

by Walter Pierce

The Unified Development Code won the approval of the Lafayette Planning Commission Monday evening and now heads to the City-Parish Council for approval. The UDC, which is designed to replace Lafayette Consolidated Government’s separate and sometimes hodgepodge zoning ordinance for the city of the Lafayette and unincorporated Lafayette Parish, will go before the council on April 21 as an introductory ordinance and again before the council, pending approval on April 21, for a final vote on May 5.

“It’s a milestone in the multi-year process of creating, adopting and implementing the comprehensive plan,” says Bruce Conque, the commission’s chairman.

According to Conque, overall the UDC provides builders and developers with more certainty about land use in areas across LCG’s jurisdiction. Among new requirements in the code, developers will be required to build sidewalks for developments in unincorporated Lafayette Parish — a first. The code was developed by an LCG-appointed committee that included government officials, planners, developers, builders and those in the real estate business. It serves as the zoning guide to PlanLafayette, the comprehensive plan developed through community input in 2013 and ’14.

Adds Conque, a candidate for the District 6 council seat this fall, “Although the Unified Development Code has to be approved and adopted by both the Commission and the City-Parish Council, the real work has been done with the input of thousands.”

While decisions of the Planning Commission can still be appealed to the City-Parish Council, the UDC also makes developers and private citizens think twice about appealing commission decisions based on the UDC by increasing the appeal fee from $100 to $1,500.

See a map of proposed zoning changes within the UDC here.