APPEAL FROM THE TWENTY-FOURTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT PARISH
OF JEFFERSON, STATE OF LOUISIANA NO. 774-896, DIVISION
"C" HONORABLE JUNE B. DARENSBURG, JUDGE PRESIDING
COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF/APPELLANT, THE CUNY FAMILY, LLC Robert
G. Harvey, Sr. Donald C. Douglas, Jr.
COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLEE, THE PARISH OF JEFFERSON Loren
composed of Judges Stephen J. Windhorst, Hans J. Liljeberg,
and John J. Molaison, Jr.
STEPHEN J. WINDHORST JUDGE.
The Cuny Family, LLC, appeals the January 23, 2019 judgment
in favor of The Parish of Jefferson, affirming the Jefferson
Parish Council's ("the Council") decision to
deny appellant's application to rezone
property. For the reasons stated herein, we affirm.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
appeal concerns the Council's denial of appellant's
request for rezoning of its property located at 808 Bonnabel
Boulevard ("Bonnabel property") in Metairie,
Louisiana, from R2 family residential to C1 neighborhood
commercial/ZPZ. Appellant owns the property located at 1805
Veterans Memorial Boulevard where a Taco Bell is currently
located. The Taco Bell is hindered with limited parking and
is in need of additional space for this and other purposes.
Appellant acquired the adjacent Bonnabel property, and filed
an application to rezone the Bonnabel property from R2 to C1,
seeking to provide additional parking and queuing for the
Taco Bell. Upon consideration of appellant's application
for rezoning, the Jefferson Parish Planning Department
("the Planning Department") recommended approval of
25, 2017, the Planning Advisory Board ("the PAB")
conducted a public hearing. At the hearing, one person spoke
in favor of and eight people spoke in opposition to the
application for rezoning. The PAB voted to defer the matter
until the next public hearing. At the hearing on June 29,
2017, one person spoke in favor of and nine people spoke in
opposition to the application.
Cuny testified on behalf of appellant, and argued that the
application should be granted for the following reasons: (1)
appellant has assured the next door neighbor that the
lighting, noise, and beautification of the area would be to
his satisfaction; (2) traffic flow will be improved for the
neighborhood; (3) elimination of employee parking in the
neighborhood; (4) improve safety by eliminating drive-through
backup on Veterans Memorial Boulevard and Bonnabel Boulevard;
(5) changing zoning will protect the neighborhood from future
unwanted commercial business, such as bars; (6) if rezoning
is granted, appellant will grant an easement to the Parish;
(7) increase in sales and property tax to the Parish; (8) if
rezoning is granted, the addition of the Bonnabel property to
the Taco Bell will make the depth of the property from
Veterans the same as that of Walgreens, which is across
Bonnabel Boulevard; (9) the Planning Department recommended
approval; and (10) neighbors, family, and friends requested
appellant to make these improvements to the property. Mr.
Cuny stated that the rezoning would allow for 12-14
additional parking spaces and 10-12 more spaces in
neighbors, including the president of the Bonnabel Civic
Association ("the Association"), opposed the
application for rezoning for the following stated reasons:
(1) a petition was obtained with over 100 signatures from the
neighborhood opposing the application; (2) the neighborhood
has consistently opposed commercial encroachment, and the
Council has denied similar requests for rezoning; (3)
granting the rezoning will encourage other businesses to
reapply for rezoning requests which were previously denied by
the PAB or Council; (4) granting the application would affect
the quality of life of the neighborhood due to increased
noise, traffic, and litter; (5) late hours of the Taco Bell;
(6) 3:00 A.M. garbage pickup at Taco Bell; (7) opposition to
commercial encroachment in their "backyard;" (8)
unwanted removal of two old trees on the property; and (9)
neighbors want to maintain the quiet, family residential
nature of the area.
rebuttal, Bonnabel Boulevard resident and counsel for
appellant, Robert Harvey, spoke on behalf of appellant,
arguing that the neighbors who signed the petition circulated
by the opponents were not truthfully told the facts regarding
the rezoning. He testified that granting the application
would increase revenue for the Parish and beautify the area.
Mr. Cuny showed a video of the U-turn directly in front of
the property and its dangers. He testified that allowing the
rezoning for additional parking and queuing would remove
vehicles from the street. He further argued that no resident
should have the U-turn in front of their house. Following the
hearing, a motion was made to deny the application for
rezoning. The PAB recommended denial of appellant's
application for rezoning.
matter was heard before the Council on July 12, 2017. Raymond
Landry, Mr. Cuny, and Mr. Harvey spoke on behalf of appellant
arguing the same reasons in favor of rezoning that were
previously addressed at the PAB hearing. Mr. Cuny presented
photographs and a video to the Council. Three neighbors,
including the president of the Association, spoke in
opposition to appellant's application for rezoning,
arguing the same reasons as previously provided at the PAB
hearing. After hearing proponents in favor of and against the
rezoning, Councilwoman Jennifer Van Vrancken acknowledged
that both sides made valid, compelling points. She further
stated that she was aware that the U-turn was a problem in
that area and the Parish was looking into the situation.
Thereafter, however, Councilwoman Van Vrancken moved for
denial of the application and the Council denied
appellant's application for rezoning.
appealed the Council's denial of its application for
rezoning to the Twenty-fourth Judicial District Court. After
a hearing on November 30, 2017, the trial court remanded the
matter to give appellant an opportunity to educate the
Association, to which it previously was not able to ...