36-lot subdivision approved by Planning Commission, first in 19 months

Moss Side Villas preliminary plat vote.

On Wednesday Ascension’s Planning Commission approved the first residential subdivision preliminary plat since July 14, 2021; the day before a parish-wide subdivision moratorium went into effect (it would expire on May 31, 2022).  In the interim Ascension’s governing authority enacted significant changes to the parish’s development codes, more stringent requirements that were part of the commission’s consideration for the first time yesterday.  Moss Side Villas, a 36-lot subdivision on 12.1 acres situated on the north side of Hwy 74 just west of the I-10 overpass, was approved with conditions in a 5-2 vote of the commission.

Formerly Dutchtown Vines, a near identical plat was approved by a unanimous commission vote in 2017.  The Traffic Impact Study for the earlier plat was referenced in Wednesday’s meeting packet, with the only requirement for Moss Side Villas‘ satisfied by providing the number of peak hour trips generated.  Since that number did not trigger heightened study requirements, there was no requirement of a second full-blown traffic study.

Existing drainage issues, unsurprisingly, were the focus of neighboring residents used to standing water after every rain event including one that occurred earlier on Wednesday.  The parish’s Engineering Review Agent made the following observation:

“The HEC RAS model, survey information, and field observations show that there is standing water in the LA 74 roadside ditch, around the LA 74 box culverts, and downstream of the LA 74 box culverts. DPW has requested that developer be responsible to clean out these drainage features to improve the ditch slope as a part of the construction of this subdivision.”

The developer, Jameson Chauvin, agreed to undertake certain drainage improvements according to project engineer Mickey Robertson:

  • replacement of undersized culverts along Hwy 74
  • cleanout of other culverts
  • cleaning of roadside ditches eastward toward Interstate 10

Moss Side Villas will be constructed as a private subdivision, meaning Ascension Parish will bear no future responsibility for road and/or drainage maintenance in the future.  There will be a 1.6 acre detention pond.

Detention pond depicted at top, center of image.

Ultimately, Commissioner Wade Schexnaydre moved to approve the preliminary plat with the condition that envisioned drainage improvements be accomplished prior to construction.  The motion was approved by a 5-2 vote.

Considering its size, Moss Side Villas avoided application of the more severe changes to Ascension’s development codes as related to traffic and drainage.  What it bodes for the future remains to be seen though it could be a harbinger of things to come, e.g. smaller subdivisions that avoid Traffic Impact Analyses and drainage mitigation requirements.