Coming down! City ordered to issue demolition permit

DEIDRE CRUSE, Governmental Reporter

 District Judge William C. Dupont on Wednesday orderedPlaquemine city officials to issue Brent Bonadona a demolition permit for a 100-year-old house at the corner of Church and Court streets.

After the brief hearing, Bonadona and his attorney Tony Clayton walked the brief distance from the Courthouse to City Hall with Mayor Mark A. “Tony” Gulotta and City Inspector Brandon Mellieon to have the permit signed.

Bonadona hopes to put in a parking lot to expand his car body shop business, Performance Auto.

Residents of the city’s National Register Historic District opposed the destruction of the house and plan to fight any attempt to have the property zoned as commercial.

The city had filed suit to stop Bonadona, who bought the property with his father, from moving ahead with the demolition until the issue went before the Historic District Commission.

Judge Dupont agreed with Clayton that the city had not properly established the Historic District Commission in city ordinances.

“The city does not have a valid historic district,” Dupont said as he granted a writ of mandamus forcing the city to issue the demolition permit.

The judge said when a city forms an historic district, it necessarily abridges private property rights, so the ordinances must be done according to constitutional requirements. The city had tried, and failed, to form the district, he said.

Clayton called Gulotta, Mellieon and Bonadona to the witness stand to establish that his client had paid a $60 fee for the demolition permit, put up a $1,500 clean-up bond and met all other requirements to qualify for the permit.

Bonadona agreed with Clayton that the house was in a “dilapidated” and “abandoned” state.

“I would love to have that permit today,” the businessman also agreed.

Dupont ordered the city to issue it immediately.

Last week, Gulotta and the city council appointed the current members of the city’s Historic District Commission as a study committee to go through the state-required procedure to establish a new commission and assure its validity.