37-lot subdivision, Clare Court approved on Cornerview Road

Chester Diez Road was recommended for a roundabout or traffic signal in May 2019.

Clare Court Subdivision, 37 lots intended for 24 acres north of Cornerview Road, approximately .5 miles west of I-10’s overpass, was approved by a 5-1 vote of Ascension’s Planning Commission on Wednesday.  The subject acreage is the same as another proposed subdivision, Evelyn Estates’ 43 lots approved in May 2019 but with conditions so onerous as to render actual construction unfeasible.  Wednesday’s approval came without those heavy strings attached.

In 2019 the commission required a roundabout at Cornerview’s intersection with Chester Diez Road, or a traffic signal being installed.  Louisiana DOTD had already rejected the signal and construction of a roundabout was hamstrung by the presence of a nearby cemetery.  (See image above).

Evelyn Estates’ preliminary plat application came with a Traffic Impact Study mandating mitigation efforts so severe as to derail the project and it went away.  The study was included in Clare Court’s meeting packet, then totally ignored by the Planning Commission on the advice of the developer’s attorney.

Conclusion from the Evelyn Estates Study:  According to the existing analysis at LA429(Cornerview)/Chester Diez Rd, the southbound approach during the PM peak hour currently experiences heavy delay with a LOS of F.  Installing a signal or roundabout at this intersection will improve the southbound level of service; however, a signal is not warranted by LADOTD’s policy, and a roundabout is not likely constructible due to there being a bridge on the southbound approach and a cemetery in the southeast quadrant.

What is a development lackey/Planning Commissioner to do?  Whatever the developer’s lawyer advises, apparently.

Clare Court’s mouthpiece argued that the traffic study, performed in 2018, was done with a 55-lot subdivision in mind even though Evelyn Estates’ preliminary plat numbered 43 lots.  Clare Court’s plat reduced that number by another six, justifying a Threshold 1 traffic analysis as opposed to the more stringent Threshold 2 study.  Ascension’s Engineering Review Agent, Shaun Sherrow of CSRS engineers, backed the play and…voila.

When the Planning Commission wants to approve a subdivision, it will find a way to do so.

Nobody bothered to mention, not a commissioner nor member of the Planning Staff, Ascension’s Traffic Impact Analysis (TIA) Policy.  Actions Based on TIA/Mitigation:

“A proposed development which is subject to the TIA requirements of this policy may be disapproved when the results of the required TIA demonstrate that the proposed project will overburden the existing roadway system by causing a reduction in service of affected roadways, negatively impacts the safety of the roadway, or is below the adopted Level of Service (LOS) “D”.  In the case where the existing Level of Service (LOS) is below “D”, the required mitigating improvements shall improve the LOS to “D” or better…” (Emphasis added).

The vote was 5-1.  Approving were Commissioners:

  • Matthew Pryor
  • Julio Dumas
  • Ken Firmin
  • Aaron Chaisson
  • Robert Hodgson

Commissioner Richard Carmouche was the lone dissenting voice.  Commissioner Shannon Hutchings was absent.