Looks like Metairie will have some new homes near the lake after all…
Despite opposition from neighbors, the Archdiocese of New Orleans was given unanimous approval today to create parcels on eight of the 19 acres it owns at the Cenacle Retreat House site in Metairie in order to sell them on the open market.
Neighbors of the Metairie property, one of East Jefferson’s last remaining swaths of green space, urged the Parish Council at its meeting today to deny or at least delay the vote on subdividing the property, with some stating there was an ongoing fundraising effort to purchase the property.
Opponents also said they had obtained signatures from more than 70 other neighbors against the re-subdivision.
Archdiocese attorney Todd Gennardo stated that the diocese has no intention to rezone the property for immediately development, and therefore the re-subdivision should not be denied.
“There is a lot of confusion … The archdiocese is not seeking to develop the property at this time,” Gennardo said. “The Archdiocese has made that clear to neighbors that the 11 acres on the Cenacle side will remain the Cenacle Retreat House. The other eight acres may possibly be developed in the future, but I’d like to emphasize ‘may.’”
Councilman Ben Zahn, who represents the district where Cenacle Retreat House is located, echoed Gennardo and added that based on his meeting with local civic groups there was little opposition to selling the property.
“There is no reason why we wouldn’t grant a re-subdivision like this. They have the right, they meet the requirements and I have no issues with it,” Zahn said. “…We have met with subdivision and civic associations, notified Elmwood, Country Club Estate estates. We have done our due diligence, and they had no issues with it.”
The 19 acres was sold to the Archdiocese earlier this year by the order of nuns who have owned it since 1958. The property includes a 31,897-square-foot retreat house with 52 guest rooms, a chapel, meeting hall, library, dining room and parlors, which the Archdiocese plans to keep open.