When Councilman Oliver Joseph gavels tonight’s Strategic Planning Committee meeting to order it will begin his tenure as the committee’s chairman. It will have been 20 months since the committee took up ineffectual Drainage Impact Studies required of every new subdivision development without any action whatever being taken by the Parish Council. A mere nine months have elapsed since…
On June 8, 2017 the Drainage Impact Study issue was removed from Strategic Planning to East Ascension Drainage Board where, unsurprisingly, no action has been taken. The issue was lumped into a Floodplain Management Plan study tasked to HNTB engineers which delivered its final product in May 2018. Who’s to blame for the inaction?
EAD Chairman Dempsey Lambert claimed HNTB’s recommendation that fill material should be limited to three feet would jeopardize construction of a new courthouse last July. Most recently he cited “LSU Coastal Sustainability Studio, Inland From the Coast” to justify further delay. As part of its $3 million grant some engineering students are “evaluating the use of fill as a means of achieving base flood elevation requirements. Analysis to include: engineering, legal and economic implications.”
The entire EA Drainage Board (every council member except Oliver Joseph) has been complicit.
Ironically, Joseph’s west bank council district has not seen a new subdivision developed in more than four decades. Maybe that makes him the perfect councilman to undertake controversial items affecting development though we doubt it. Joseph is well known for horsetrading when it comes to the legislative process and it is obvious that certain of his colleagues do not want legislation cumbersome to their developer friends.
Tonight Joseph’s committee is scheduled to take up:
(6) Discussion of Limit of Floodplain Management Fill (Melissa Kennedy, HNTB)
(7) Proposed Ordinance – To Impose Temporary Restriction on the Placement of Fill for Major and Minor Subdivisions (Councilman Aaron Lawler)
This comes after the full council charged Strategic Planning with making a recommendation in time for the next Council meeting, three days from now on February 21. So one committee meeting and these issues can be resolved? That would be a slap in the collective face of every resident of east bank Ascension fearing the next great flood or heavy rain.
There is no discussion scheduled to take up the Drainage Impact Study issue. 12 subdivisions/845 residential units have been approved since it was taken away from Strategic Planning in June 2017.
Four subdivisions totaling 294 lots have been approved in Council District 11.
Three subdivisions with 224 lots have been approved in Council District 7.
Two subdivisions with 185 lots have been approved in Council District 3.
Two subdivisions with 106 lots have been approved in Council District 5.
One subdivision with 36 lots has been approved in Council District 8.