Judge denies preliminary injunction; Central development to move forward for now

Judge denies preliminary injunction; Central development to move forward for now

CENTRAL, LA (WAFB) - An attempt to immediately halt progress on the Settlement on Shoe Creek development in Central was shot down Wednesday in the 19th Judicial District Court.

The development, approved by Central's City Council in July, will include around 450 single family homes, 250 apartments and retail space. The Traditional Neighborhood Development has been compared to the River Ranch Development in Lafayette.

Hailed by Mayor Jr. Shelton when first proposed, the TND created controversy after many residents raised concerns about the number of apartments.

A lawsuit filed against Shelton and members of the City Council claims the project violated city code, from having too many apartments to not having enough access roads. It also alleges that Shelton acted beyond his power as mayor by entering an agreement to extend an existing private road in order to create a new access point.

The lawsuit asked for both a preliminary and permanent injunction of the project to sort out the legal questions. It also asked the court to void that agreement made by Shelton.

After hearing six hours' worth of testimony from various persons involved in the development and its approval, Judge Wilson Fields denied the preliminary injunction request. He also ruled that Shelton was indeed acting within his authority as mayor.

"Through the Lawrason Act, I absolutely have the right to do what I did. He threw that out first. I want that noted," said Shelton after the hearing. "He absolutely said, by way of the Lawrason Act, I had the authority to do what I did. No evidence was shown that I did anything illegal or improper."

A trial to consider a permanent injunction is set for October 23. Dave Freneaux, who filed the suit, and his attorney said they are not deterred by this initial setback.

"This is our way of redressing an issue if we feel like we have not gotten a proper decision from our local, elected officials," said Freneaux.

Meanwhile, the contractor will be able to proceed on the $250 million project.

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