Agenda Item
Docket No. 22-930
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 consideration?

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?

3. 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:

(a) Is, or will be, the subject of action by the governmental entity.

(b) Is one to which the governmental entity is or will be a party.

(c) 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.

(b) The subdivision, resubdivision, or zoning of such property shall be for residential purposes only.

(c) 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.

(d) No public funds shall be used to construct any infrastructure for the use or benefit of such property or development.

(e) 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 application.

(f) 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 transaction.

Adopt the proposed advisory opinion.
Assigned Attorney: Mallory Guillot
2022-930 - AO
2022-930 - Map
2022-930- Email from Doug Burguieres
2022-930 - Advisory Opinion Draft - Burguieres