The Thibodaux City Council voted down an ordinance Monday that would have amending the city’s zoning map to allow for a commercial business to open along Plantation Road.

Shonell Tolbert purchased property at 1001 Plantation Road, which is currently zoned as residential. He was seeking approval from the council to rezone the property as commercial to open a hair salon.

The Thibodaux Planning and Zoning board unanimously approved the change at its March 7 meeting after hearing from residents both for and against the change.

A general store located on the property was grandfathered in under the old zoning ordinances, allowing it to be used for commercial purposes. However, the adjoining building, which formerly housed a nail salon, can only be used for residential purposes under the current zoning laws in the city.

Tolbert asked the council to reclassify the zoning for the entire property from residential to commercial to allow him to lease out the second space for a hair salon.

The council voted down the change 1-4 with Councilman Chip Badeaux being the sole vote in support.

Lafourche Parish Councilman Jerry Jones spoke out against the ordinance.

“I’m totally opposed to this,” he said. “The city spent a lot of money to get zoning organized and it’s doing a great job the way it is.”

Tolbert, who grew up in the neighborhood near the store, said he purchased the property to make the community safe while providing a store for nearby residents.

The only way to open both businesses is to have the property rezoned, he said.

Brunell Tolbert, Sonnell’s father, also addressed the council, claiming Jones’ opposition to the project was a personal issue with the Tolbert family.

“It’s a personal vendetta,” Brunell Tolbert said. “He’s holding it against my family.”

Jones denied have personal motives, saying that if the city started a trend of “spot zoning” it would lead to trouble.

Before the vote, Councilwoman Constance Johnson said it is the role of the council to separate personal feelings from the council and make decisions for today and the future of Thibodaux. 

Staff Writer Julia Arenstam can be reached at 448-7636 or julia.arenstam@houmatoday.com. Follow her on Twitter at @gingerale214.