2023 Candidate Questionnaire
- Quality of Life
What changes, if any, would you pursue to Lafayette’s Development Code
The Lafayette Development Code should be carefully reviewed to ensure it aligns with the evolving needs and aspirations of our community. Traditional codes regulating density should be adapted to address affordability and accessibility while preserving the unique character of our city. To this end, I would advocate for a reassessment of the code, with a focus on streamlining regulations to promote responsible growth and economic development.Monique Blanco Boulet
Immediately upon taking office in January 2020, my administration put together a committee consisting of citizens, real estate developers, realtors, builders, and other community leaders to make sweeping changes to the Unified Development Code (UDC). After nearly a year of research and work, we presented the new Lafayette Development Code (LDC), which was passed by both the city and parish councils. The new LDC streamlines the codes, eliminates conflicting codes, and makes it easier for citizens and developers to cut through layers of bureaucracy. It is important that we both preserve the character of our neighborhoods, but also apply forward-thinking approaches to Lafayette’s future development. My administration has been, and will continue to be, open to commonsense changes to the Lafayette Development Code as development and housing needs continue to evolve in Lafayette. Practical application of zoning can also play an important role in protecting neighborhood integrity by creating buffers from conflicting land uses, while also offering nearby amenities that residents are seeking.Josh Guillory
Would you support using public funds for housing initiatives? Why or why not?
My administration has overseen several programs related to rental assistance, loans for first-time home buyers, disposition of adjudicated properties, and infrastructure. We saw a large influx of federal funds due to the COVID pandemic, and we rapidly acted to get those funds to those with the most need. We continue, as we have in the past, to manage and disperse CDBG, HUD, state, and local funds through our Community Development and Planning Department. Government can also play a role in attracting developers of low-to-moderate income housing by temporarily freezing assessment values against increased property values as a result of improvements. This is a fiscally responsible approach to incentives that lead to private investment which attracts new residents and can help build the workforce to fulfill the growing labor demands of a booming economy. I am particularly proud of the successful partnership with Habitat for Humanity putting adjudicated properties back into play as homes for lower-income families. The program helps to re-establish the fabric of neighborhoods, introduces families into homeownership, and can serve as a starting point for wealth building.Josh Guillory
I have first-hand experience with catalytic investment in affordable housing. The Bottle Art Lofts has seeded affordable housing while creating a safer community for the surrounding neighborhoods.
Affordable housing as well as workforce housing needs to be factored in our community. It is important for our teachers, our first responders, our young professionals as well as our low-income households to have home ownership options. Home ownership is often the first step to wealth building in addition to one of the elements the city needs for population stabilization.
I am open to LCG working to create housing options that make sense for Lafayette. Leveraging available federal and state incentives is an important part of the capital stack for any of our private sector partners in these kinds of ventures. We also need to assure we are also investing in long term solutions and not short-term band aids.Monique Blanco Boulet
Quality of Life
What role should local government should play in economic development and the job market?
First and foremost, businesses are looking for an even playing field with honest leadership. When a pay to pay government develops many may learn how to adapt at whatever costs may be needed, but new players will avoid entering new markets that are marked with bad headlines and back room deals. Growth becomes stunted as well as any community’s ability to reach it potential.
Local government plays a pivotal role in community development and quality of life issues which makes any community more attractive and conducive to real economic growth. Government is responsible for building the foundation from which business can grow and prosper.
In my experience running an economic development agency as CEO of the Acadiana Planning Commission, I saw firsthand how crucial partnerships and teamwork are to achieve our goals. In addition to high level collaborations, LCG should be proactive in fostering these relationships by partnering with existing businesses, investing in public infrastructure, and promoting policies that attract and retain companies, thus creating job opportunities with good salaries and benefits for our citizens.Monique Blanco Boulet
The core functions of government cannot be adequately fulfilled without a robust economy to fund operations. It is critical that local government does whatever it can to further increase and attract economic development. Over the last four years we have seen record tax collections due to a healthy economy. A lot of that has to do with the business-friendly environment we have worked to create with stakeholders. We have seen the opening of the Amazon facility north of Interstate 10, Safe Source in the Broussard area, and numerous other businesses that are either relocating or launching right here in Lafayette. We have also seen LUS Fiber begin to expand outside the parish which will ultimately bring revenue back into Lafayette. Another large part government plays in attracting new business and development is ensuring that we have adequate, reliable, well-maintained infrastructure that supports the needs of our current and future business community.Josh Guillory
Should Lafayette spend public dollars to finance quality of life programs and to what extent?
Our way of life, the way we live, and the quality of our lifestyle is part of what makes us different and special. Our public quality of life infrastructure should support and enhance our lifestyles as well as our economic development initiatives. As we set priorities at LCG, all of our infrastructure decisions should be made with quality-of-life implications in mind. When thinking of keeping our young professionals and bringing home those who have left, quality-of-life infrastructure is key. These are the amenities our young people are enjoying in other communities. LCG should build a foundation where community health, culture, arts and parks improve the experience of our residents and showcase what makes our cultural and recreational landscape unique.Monique Blanco Boulet
Lafayette should absolutely invest in quality of life programs as long as there are the means to pay for continued operations without increased burden to the tax payers. My administration has made significant investments in quality of life initiatives like our bike path plan, Brown Park’s Baseball and Softball Super Complex, Moore Park’s Super Soccer Complex, and more are on the way. We’ve also worked with stakeholders to lay the groundwork for a new performing arts center and a new state-of-the-art indoor sports complex. All of this was accomplished without raising taxes.Josh Guillory
Would you support stricter development standards to limit flood risk related to new construction?
It is critical that we take everything into consideration when it comes to the flooding impacts of new construction and development. At the same time, we must ensure that we are not being overly burdensome. I believe that our standards set forth in the LDC address many of the flooding risks that we have seen in the past. However, flood mitigation is not a one and done issue. Drainage is dynamic and we must constantly adjust our efforts based on how developments change the topography of the parish over time. That is why it is important to constantly adapt our drainage plan to account for the changes.Josh Guillory
Old and young alike are concerned about flood risk in Lafayette Parish. Understanding our flood plain and making data driven decisions around both drainage investments, as well as growth and development, are critical to the future of Lafayette Parish. LCG can leverage its own intellectual assets along with the expertise at UL to understand and make true systematic investments in drainage mitigation rather than short term quick feel-good projects with limited impacts.
When honest data, collaboration and community input is used to develop effective long term strategies for flood reduction, Lafayette parish can honestly address the future risks from our changing climates.
I do support increased development standards when it makes sense to limit flood risk specifically related to new construction and when it supports flood insurance premium reductions. Input from all stakeholders, including property owners and developers, should be considered.Monique Blanco Boulet
How would you prioritize spending on stormwater management and infrastructure in the future?
The first responsibility of local funds for stormwater management is to operate and maintain existing infrastructure. First, we will assess current drainage and stormwater systems to know effectiveness and best use of local funds for operations and maintenance looking for best long-term solutions. We will also immediately reduce the cost of legal fees being used to build and develop our stormwater and drainage system. This should immediately create more funding for actual work that benefits our homes and businesses. In the last 3 years, Lafayette has received unprecedented one-time funding that has been invested in drainage infrastructure. These have been used for one-time large-scale projects that will require significant operations and maintenance costs. Of greatest concern is the ongoing costs of the 4 Homewood detention ponds built 22 feet above sea level. As planned today, costly pumps and other mechanisms will have to be maintained. With proper engineering expertise, we will determine if the drainage protection and reduction in stormwater impacts is significant enough to justify the operations and maintenance. As one of my greatest concerns, already planned projects will direct the prioritization of future funding.Monique Blanco Boulet
Drainage was the number one priority when I ran for office in 2019 and it remains a top priority now. There is no one way to “fix” drainage, it is dynamic and we have to be able to continue working to improve drainage. This means continuing maintenance on our current drainage infrastructure, adding new infrastructure like detention/retention ponds, and updating our stormwater management plan to account for new development. My administration has worked tirelessly to address the flooding issues in our parish. While tax dollars are limited, we have dedicated funding, voted on by the people, to use towards improving drainage. We will also work with our legislative delegation to seek out funding from the state when necessary. We will continue to seek out federal funding when available as well.Josh Guillory