|Advisory Opinion request submitted on behalf of the City of Lake Charles
regarding the continued participation of Gus William Schram III ("Mr. Schram")
on the Planning Commission for the city.
Gus Schram, III is a member of the Lake Charles City Planning Commission. Mr. Schram owns several properties in the City of Lake
Charles. In the request, he attaches a proposed replat of two properties
currently owned by Mr. Schram. Mr. Schram's home is located on Tract 1, which
has water access. Lot 18, also owned by Mr. Schram, is an adjoining piece of property
that does not have water access. Mr. Schram is seeking to carve out a portion
of Tract 1 which will increase square footage of Lot 18 and give water access
to said lot. The zoning of said property will remain the same; it will be a Single
Family Residential property. No public funds will be used to construct any
infrastructure on the property in question. The request asked the following three questions:
1. Is Mr. Schram permitted to present an
application for this subdivision and replat of the property to the City's Planning
Department who will then present it to the Planning Commission for
2. If the proposed subdivision and
replat is presented to the Planning Commission, is Mr. Schram required to
resign his position with the Planning Commission or else be in violation of the
Code of Governmental Ethics?
In the alternative to resignation, can Mr. Schram abstain from all
participation in the Planning Commission's consideration of the subdivision and
replat, including have an alternate Planning Commission member present in place
of Mr. Schram on the night the application is considered?
La. R.S. 42:1113B. Other than a
legislator, no appointed member of any board or commission, member of his
immediate family, or legal entity in which he has a substantial economic
interest shall bid on or enter into or be in any way interested in any
contract, subcontract, or other transaction which is under the supervision or
jurisdiction of the agency of such appointed member.
La. R.S. 42:1102(23) "Transaction
involving the governmental entity" means any proceeding, application,
submission, request for a ruling or other determination, contract, claim, case,
or other such particular matter which the public servant or former public
servant of the governmental entity in question knows or should know:
Is, or will be, the subject of action by the governmental entity.
Is one to which the governmental entity is or will be a party.
Is one in which the governmental entity has a direct interest. A transaction
involving the agency of a governmental entity shall have the same meaning with
respect to the agency.
La. R.S. 42:1123(34) provides that the
Code of Governmental Ethics shall not preclude:
(34) A member of a municipal or parish governing
authority, an appointed member of a planning or zoning or appeals board or
commission of a parish or municipality, or a member of such public servant's
immediate family or a legal entity in which any such person has an interest from making application for the approval
of the subdivision or resubdivision of property and for the zoning of such
property or for a building permit and any inspections performed pursuant
thereto, provided that all of the following: (a)
The zoning of such subdivided property shall not be less restrictive than the
zoning of the original parcel.
The subdivision, resubdivision, or zoning of such property shall be for
residential purposes only.
The application or applications submitted by or on behalf of the public
servant, a member of his immediate family, or legal entity, collectively, shall
be limited to the subdivision, resubdivision, or zoning of not more than twelve
lots per calendar year and the construction of not more than twelve residential
units per calendar year.
No public funds shall be used to construct any infrastructure for the use or benefit
of such property or development.
The public servant shall file written notice containing
all details regarding the transaction deemed necessary by the Board of Ethics
with his governing authority or board or commission and with the Board of
Ethics no later than ten days prior to any hearing pertaining to any such
application, or if no hearing is held pertaining to such application, shall
file such notice at least ten days prior to final action on any such
The public servant shall recuse himself from any vote related to such
application and shall not participate in any other aspect of the application or
Adopt the proposed advisory opinion.