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Rezoning decision draws fire from chamber

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News,Business,Chambers of Commerce

GONZALES, La. (AP) — Leaders of the Ascension Parish Chamber of Commerce are strongly criticizing the City Council after it refused to rezone a 22-acre tract proposed for a business development.

The Advocate reported (http://bit.ly/Oov4Yt) that in an email to Mayor Barney Arceneaux, chamber chairman Matthew Pryor and president Sherrie Despino say the council turned its back on economic prosperity.

In January, Jimmy Boyce III of PHL Investments asked the city Planning and Zoning Commission to change the site's zoning from C-1 commercial to C-2 commercial. The property is on Louisiana Highway 44.

Boyce planned to buy five acres and build and lease a distribution center to Crawford Electric. The C-2 zoning allows special-use permits for such construction.

After the rezoning request died at the council, Crawford Electric spokesman Damain Kerek said the company would build the distribution center at a site on Louisiana Highway 30. The site is in Ascension Parish, but outside the Gonzales city limits.

The original site is inside the city on a field south of Louisiana 30.

The area is zoned for a variety of uses. Property neighboring the field is zoned I-1, light industrial, and is home to the SoChem Solutions chemicals company.

"The proposal to bring Crawford here seemed like a no-brainer," Pryor said Thursday. "The general consensus I've heard from people in the community is that it's just mind-boggling" that the rezoning request was defeated, he said.

When the initial rezoning request was made, Boyce told the City Council the Crawford project would create 50 jobs.

Most council members are Arceneaux were traveling from a convention and could not be reached for comment.

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Information from: The Advocate, http://theadvocate.com

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