BROUSSARD, La. (KLFY)– Over two dozen residents of Broussard addressed the board at a city council meeting on Tuesday night. Some residents went before the committee, and others wrote their submissions on paper.
The council voted to have the emergency access gate that has been separating the Paige Place Subdivision and Deer Meadow Village removed. Mayor Ray Bourque explained as Paige Place Subdivision was in the stages of development, there were discussions about entrance points. The gate went up in 2015 after these discussions.
Records from the City of Broussard Planning Commission Minutes from a meeting held on Sept. 12, 2015 state the meeting was adjourned by temporarily approving a plat survey for Paige Place to include an emergency access gate on Deer Meadow Blvd. The decision was ultimately based on the findings of the city’s attorney, Don Landry.
Landry approving the proposed gate in a letter. Thereby supporting the Paige Place subdivision plat survey.
In the present, many Deer Meadow Village residents said the developer Cliff Guidry, with Guidry Land Development, did not keep his promise to complete the gate. The gate was supposed to be electrical and not manual.
A resident says one her neighbors tripped in the driveway and feel on her stomach at seven months pregnant. Paramedics had trouble reaching the woman because of the manual gate.
“[It] took the ambulance 45 minutes to get to her because he kept having to go around back in circles. They could not figure out how to get to us. There’s a gate. That’s all we kept hearing; there’s a gate,” said the woman.
Multiple residents shared stories of medical crisis or unsafe what-if scenarios that would end badly due to the access gate.
“I have witnessed firsthand an ambulance stop at the gate, spent several minutes trying to get through a gate that would not open, and get back in his unit and leave to find another way to get to the person that was in a medical crisis,” said another woman living in Paige Place.
A Deer Meadows Village resident expressed how removing the gate would cause more traffic and be a safety concern since his area has no sidewalks. He is also concerned about drivers following the speed limit.
“I am located approximately 50 feet from the gate; at present, there are almost 12 homes which cause traffic in front of my house,” he said. “If we’re talking true safety, then maybe we need to put sidewalks all the way up and down every one of the 1.5 miles of Deer Meadow Boulevard roads.”
Another woman asked the council why was a 2015 decision now a 2023 concern. She argued that the gate has a code for the lock. Once the code is entered, the gate opens within seconds.
“Is it because of safety, or is it clearly for the convenience of the residents in Paige Place to access Deer Meadow Boulevard to Fairfield?”
“Safety is definitely a concern. I understand that, but they bought their property knowing that that was going to be an issue. The negligence of the city for not maintaining the gate properly; not installing it properly would address all of the concerns that these people have on safety,” said a resident of Deer Meadows Village.
In response to this statement, some Paige Place residents said they were informed about the gate but were also told it would be removed.
One woman from Paige Place said, “Keeping the gate closed, for this reason, in my opinion, is saying that the lives of the family that lives on Deer Meadow matter more than the lives of all of us that live in phases two and three.”
“It’s been a struggle, and I think most people have come to realize here recently that the current council, and maybe even the city, has no intentions of fulfilling the obligation that the developer had to complete this emergency access gate which is supposed to be electronically controlled,” said another Deer Meadows resident.
After hearing from residents on both sides, the council decided the gate has to be removed because it is on a public road. There was also a discussion about sidewalks being added to Deer Meadow’s side and law enforcement monitoring the speed limit once the gate is down.
If funding to remove the gate becomes an issue, a future discussion in the council would be necessary.