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Mayor-President Josh Guillory looking to revamp Unified Development Code

Posted at 10:41 PM, Jan 22, 2020

Lafayette Mayor-President Josh Guillory is proposing changes to the parish's unified development code.

The code was adopted in 2015 as a rule-book for zoning and development standards to be used by Lafayette Consolidated Government departments.

The goal was to simplify the process of development in the metro area.

The code applies to the city of Lafayette and the unincorporated areas of the parish. The UDC was formed as part of Lafayette's comprehensive plan, putting the codes in one place.

During Guillory's inauguration, he said, "We can't afford to have project approvals that should take a week or less end up taking six months."

Guillory said it's hard to do business in Lafayette Parish because of regulations. In his first month in office, he setup a task force to look at replacing the UDC.

"We're going to have a common sense solution. It might take 12-18 months to do this, but we will keep what's good," Guillory said. "There's a regulatory aspect to this and an implementation from the administration that we need to learn how we can better serve developers, how to better serve business and to get business and jobs back to Lafayette. We need to get government out the way and get businesses and jobs back."

Kevin Blanchard, Chief Operation Officer of Southern Lifestyle & Development said, "The primary driver for the UDC for the city of Lafayette was how do we give people more choice."

Blanchard worked in the Durel administration and helped implement the code.

"The UDC is written to give some amount of discretion to the LCG staff, to the planning commission and to the council so they could deal with those one off situations as they come one case at a time," Blanchard said. "The work of the UDC is always ongoing and certainly as someone in the development community, there are things we should always be looking at, but to repeal and replace is a pretty big undertaking."

Guillory said, "If this is a code issue then we will fix this by ordinance. If it's an implementation issue than I fix it in my own administration. We're not going to go super fast where we miss something. I don't want just someone in government to give me advice and I don't want just developers to give me advice. I want all of our people to be represented in this process."