Pryor resigns from his seat on the planning and zoning commissions | pelican post

Matthew Pryor, former chairman of the Planning Commission (file photo)

Matthew Pryor has announced that he will step down from the seat of the Ascension Planning and Zoning Commissions held since July 2014, with most of that term being in the chair. Another commissioner, Ken Firmin, is expected to step down in the coming months, leaving three vacancies on the seven-member commissions since Shannon Hutchings left a few months ago. The terms of three other commissioners are due to expire on February 8, leaving six appointments to be made by the parish council.

“I’ve had the privilege of serving on these commissions for the past seven years, and it’s been a real honor,” Pryor said during the president’s comments last night. “I think we’ve done a lot of good work for Ascension Parish.”

Pryor did not list any of the “good works” referenced and, we suspect, a large majority of the public would dispute his salutation.

Pryor’s departure eliminates an admittedly “pro-development” voice on the commission, and spares him the hassle of enforcing what promises to be tough drainage regulations proposed by Chairman Clint Cointment’s administration. Seven months into a 9-month moratorium on property subdivisions, Cointment aims to introduce legislation for the parish council’s consideration by April. Collaboration Kendig Keast, an outfit from Sugarland TX, is busy working on a total overhaul of Ascension’s land development code and that work will continue long after the moratorium expires.

Planning and zoning, as currently configured (including rendezvous conditions):

  • Aaron Chaisson’s mandate expires on February 8, 2022
  • Wade Schexnaydre – term expires February 8, 2022
  • Julio Dumas’ mandate expires on February 8, 2022
  • Ken Firmin’s term expires February 8, 2023
  • Michael Todd Varnado’s term expires February 8, 2023

With Firmin’s resignation, the Board will have six appointments to make, three of which are expected to be renewals (Chaisson, Schexnaydre and Dumas). Dumas joined Pryor in the “pro-development” camp while Chaisson and Schexnaydre attempted to hold developers to account. Varnado’s voting record is sparser after he was appointed to the Commission in April 2021, but is four to four in voting to decline subdivision preliminary dishes.

Chairman of the Board John Cagnolatti

What direction will the newly configured planning commission take? It falls to newly elected parish council chairman John Cagnolatti to appoint five members to the staff committee tasked with recommending six planning and zoning commissioners in the very near future.

NOTE: We will have more on this in the coming days.



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