Truck stop casino nixed

Ken Grissom

Breaux Bridge — The City Council last week denied a request by owners of the Shell station north of I-10 for a zoning change that would allow them to operate a truck stop casino at the 2129 Anse Broussard Highway location.

The vote was two to one in favor of the zoning change but two other councilmen abstained, citing conflicts of interest. City attorney Chester Cedars said a majority of the members present is needed to pass a motion. It would have taken three votes to grant the zoning change, he said.

Voting in favor of the change from C-2 to C-4 were Howard “Doc” Alexander and Albert “Da Da” Menard. The lone nay came from Gary “Bimmie” Champagne.

Councilmen Terry Thibodeaux and Glenn Angelle declined to vote on the matter — Thibodeaux because his brother lives in a subdivision that lies behind the service station, and Angelle because he works for Slemco, which is occasionally represented by the same attorney who appeared before the council last week on behalf of Macro Oil and Lavigne Oil, would-be partners in the new truck stop casino.

The council was acting as a board of adjustment for the city’s Planning and Zoning Comission, which had recommened against the zoning change.

Lafayette Attorney Glenn Edwards argued that denying them the ability to have video poker put them as a disadvantage against Silver’s across the street and Pilot across the freeway.

He said the owners were willing to put up a fence and tree line to separate the facility from the adjoining residential area, North Bridge subdivision, and that they would also put in retention ponds and filtered outflow pipes to protect the pond bordering the subdivision.

Dean Tekell, a traffic engineer, told councilmen the proposed truck stop would not be large enough to cause a significant increase in traffic at the intersection.

Councilman Alexander argued that prohibiting commercial development at the interchange was costing the city tax revenue.

“It doesn’t pay to have an interstate through your community if you’re going to put houses along it,” he said.

Last year, complaints from residents of North Bridge and other housing developments north of I-10 successfully blocked zoning changes at the interchange that would have allowed for truck wash and a “mini River Ranch” with 50-foot lots.

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