Attorney for Rowanoak: Reid Jones
Attorney for the City of Natchitoches: Martha Crenshaw
Attorney for the Intervening Residents: Jim Seaman
On October 7, 2021, Judge Lala B. Sylvester dismissed Rowanoak Development’s Petition for Writ of Mandamus which asked the court to order the Natchitoches Planning and Zoning Commission to accept its preliminary plat for its proposed Glendale Subdivision on Saint Maurice in the City of Natchitoches. The contested issue was not the merits of Rowanoak’s request, but whether Rowanoak was legally entitled to such an order.
In an Exception for No Cause of Action filed by the City of Natchitoches and three intervening residents, the opponents argued that the decision of the Commission denying Rowanoak’s plats was discretionary, not mandatory, and within its power to do. Judge Sylvester heavily questioned Rowanoak’s attorney other avenues available to appeal the Commission and City Council’s decisions and whether the public’s resounding disapproval and other “public interest” considerations listed in the City’s subdivision code was “data” for the Commission to lawfully consider in making its decision.
Representing the intervening residents, Attorney Jim Seaman, son of the late local attorney Charles Seaman, created a brief stir in the courtroom when he blurted out that billionaire Warren Buffet was behind the proposed subdivision. In her one-page judgment filed minutes before the Clerk of Court’s office closed, Judge Sylvester did not explain her decision, but the NPJ has learned that she stated her reasons in court late in the afternoon which were recorded. By this writing, a transcript was not obtainable. Given the amount of time the lawyers devoted in their arguments, the decision may hinge on the court’s interpretation of a state law that says a decision to grant or deny a proposed subdivision by any planning or zoning commission in Louisiana is considered an act of “legislative discretion” which, the City claims, would automatically defeat Rowanoak’s request.
See Court Ruling Here:
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