Matassa’s “official” Reasons for Veto of Fill Ordinance

Dear Chairwoman Casso and Ascension Parish Council Members:

I am hereby informing you of my decision to veto the amendments to The Unified Land Development Code, Appendix V-Drainage ordinance by you on May 16, 2019.  I have made this decision after considerable analysis and discussion with staff and consultants concerning the implementation and impacts of the amendments.

The rationale behind the veto is as follows:

  1. The ordinance, as passed, does not adequately address the requirements to enforce Chapter 9.5-22 (9) “the ‘C’ ordinance” because there is no ‘baseline’ available within the majority of the area of the Parish that lies within the floodplain.  A study for each basin will be required to submit the ‘no-rise greater than 1-foot’ in water surface elevation in excess of the base flood at any point for the issuance of a no-rise certification.  A policy of Zero-Net-Fill would automatically provide conformance with the ‘C’ ordinance with no additional studies required.

Matassa and Pendarvis on the town.

2. To require a landowner to construct a home at 2′ above the 100 year base flood elevation (BFE) would result in a reduction of individual flood insurance premiums, however, it would not result in a significant decrease in points of the Community Rating System (CRS) to allow a parish-wide benefit of reduced rates in the flood insurance program.  This requirement would be onerous on an individual property owner and the cost to benefit ratio would not accrue to the Parish in a significant way.  According to the Parish Floodplain Coordinator; “Ascension Parish gets 100pts our of a possible total of 225 points for Higher Standards (1.0′ Freeboard), if we change the Requirement to 2.0′ the ordinance would have to include elevating the mechanical equipment to the freeboard level or we will only be credited 75% of the 225.  Additionally, the Parish would be required to subtract the Open Space and Un-numbered A zones from this calculation.  The most we can obtain in CRS points would be an additional 125 points and this does not include subtracting the Un-numbered A Zones and Open Space.  Requiring construction at 2.0′ above BFE would not, in and of itself, change the Community Rating System Class from or (sic) current classification of 8 to 7”.

Billy Aguillard (center) with Councilman Dempsey Lambert (l) and Murphy Painter (a declared candidate for Parish President. Wonder who picked up that tab.

3.  The current ordinance, as passed, would require classification through multiple revisions for the Department of Planning and Zoning to enforce it effectively as noted below:

  • Any requirement within the 500 year flood zone would have to be eliminated/delayed until official maps from FEMA are created and accepted by the Parish for particular basins
  • The verbiage contained in the approved ordinance does not mirror exactly what is currently within the Parish’s Code of Ordinances, which could cause possible conflicts.
  • In Paragraph 17-507.B, there are possible conflicts as to intent as there are three lot sizes mentioned, 1/2 acre, 1 acre and 2 acres, with no specific mention of commercial lots within the ‘Individual’ and ‘Non-Individual Lot’ development sections.
  • Clarification is needed within Paragraph 17-5093. A: Long Term Accountability of Mitigation Facilities, as there is no distinction between ‘Individual’ and “Non-Individual Lot’ development.  Additionally, enforcement is not addressed in the event there no (sic) Certificates of Occupancy to issue on a lot or lots using the mitigation facility.

One possible compromise would be to allow NO fill in areas contained within the Ascension Parish designated Coastal Zone as defined with the Louisiana 2017 Coastal Master Plan, and to adopt a Zero Net Fill policy outside that defined area.  This compromise would place the Parish in compliance with the Coastal Master Plan for that area within the boundaries of the Master Plan.   A map of the area is attached.

According to the provisions in The Home Rule Charter, Section 3-04, I am notifying you that this veto will be placed on the Agenda of the June 6, 2019 Ascension Parish Council meeting for your consideration when you will (sic) afforded the opportunity to override this veto by a vote of two-thirds of your members.


Kenny Matassa, Ascension Parish President

The Coastal Zone Map