By Bonnie Culverhouse
An appeal to the Minden City Council by MGM Development Group was denied Monday when council members voted instead to send the matter back to the Minden Zoning Commission amid controversy between the council and one of MGM’s partners.
Jeff Glover, partner with MGM, asked the council to vote on the appeal which would allow a zoning variance to build Retirement Villas of Minden, a 50-unit R-5 multi-family residential construction and gated retirement community, located at 711 Germantown Rd.
The property, currently owned by Anti-Pest & Veitch, is located between Savannah Court and The Colony, which is not multi-family nor is it confined to senior citizens.
“We are operating under a timeline,” Glover said. “On March 2, MGM sent the city a letter outlining various alleged Fair Housing Act violations that we believe took place in the zoning commission process. It’s fairly serious and falls under federal law.
“We are talking about potential federal litigation,” he continued. “The bottom line is, on April 13, the Louisiana Housing Corporation will enter its decision.”
District D Councilman Michael Roy asked Glover to explain why the issue was not dead when previous deadlines had passed and the council failed to vote in favor of it at the December meeting.
Before Glover could answer, Roy asked a second question.
“Did you ask (District E Councilwoman Pam Bloxom) if she and/or I would not attend the meeting that night,” Roy asked. “And remember, you explained very well numerous times that you are a biblical man.”
Glover said that zoning is the fundamental requirement for an application to be deemed worthy of the Louisiana Housing Corporation.
“When they were going over our application last month, they said we don’t have your zoning number,” Glover said. “At that point, we answered all the questions and, from a zoning perspective, we had to tell them we are in a fair housing dispute.”
“You asked me and Pam (Bloxom) to commit a felony,” Roy said.
Glover denied the allegation.
“I asked what happens if there’s not a quorum,” Glover responded. “It’s a proven statistical fact that your city council has operated in numerous situations where there is not a quorum, particularly in the environment of adverse racial relations. Ms. Bloxom and yourself are putting words in my mouth.”
Glover went on to say the application has been deemed incomplete without the zoning letter.
“Our client has indicated that if the development fails to be approved on April 13, the only remaining item is zoning, they have indicated to us that they intend to go ahead and file a lawsuit in federal court alleging Fair Housing Act violations,” Glover said. “And on the (March) 2nd, we supplied a nine-page thesis outline all the violations that took place.”
With all members present, the council voted unanimously to send MGM’s request back to the Minden Zoning Commission, asking for clarifications for reasons the request was denied.
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