The Court of Appeal dismissed the opponents of the La Rochelle nautical platform
The judicial case around the requests for the decommissioning of the La Rochelle nautical platform to open it up to housing and public services is coming to an end. After a first unfavourable judgment by the Poitiers Administrative Court in April 2017, four owners brought the case before the Bordeaux Court of Appeal. After the hearing on 11 October 2018, the court dismissed the complainants in its verdict of 15 November 2018.
No evidence of the dangerousness of the boating industry in the city centre
In its judgment, the Bordeaux Court of Appeal confirmed the technical choices of the Agglomeration of La Rochelle in defining urban planning areas, while reiterating its sole responsibility for the overall land use policy. The classification of the nautical chart area corresponds to its industrial use. The judges see "no prima facie evidence" of the nuisance of boat construction and maintenance for local residents living in the area. The environmental risk is also eliminated. The court described the audit on the subject presented by the complainants as "vague and poorly substantiated".
Jean-François Fountaine exonerated
Jean-François Fountaine, now Mayor of La Rochelle, is also the co-founder of the Fountaine-Pajot catamaran construction site. The company's interest, as a regular user of the boat launch facilities, was put forward by the complainants to denounce a conflict of interest. The court also rejected the argument. "The sole fact that the contested decision was taken by Mr Fountaine, President of the Communauté d'agglomération, who, according to the applicants, would be personally interested in maintaining the nautical installations on the plateau, is not in itself such as to characterise a misuse of power," the judgment states.
Durability of pleasure boating in downtown La Rochelle
Many yachting players, some of whom have invested heavily in the nautical sector in recent years, were concerned that the area would be left to the appetite of property developers. The court's decision should enable the nautical industries to consolidate their location in the heart of La Rochelle.