Resident/Builder claims “our industry…left out of (fill ordinance) conversation”

In recent articles and Ascension Parish Council meetings, it has been stated that the home building industry has been involved in the process of drafting the new drainage ordinance introduced at the last council meeting.

While our industry was invited to an early meeting of the committee the administration formed, we have not been invited back.  I have reached out numerous times to various stakeholders, specifically the engineers drafting this ordinance, for answers but have received little to no response. Like my fellow residents, I have been left largely out of the conversation. This has left me unable to give input, especially to the degree alluded to by parish officials.

I have spent some time pulling together numbers on the differences between building a slab on compacted dirt and a pier and beam in our area. This cost comparison is based on a home that will be built in Gonzales this year. The comparison indicates that the pier and beam home foundation will be an increase of more than $22,000.

Pier and beam homes increase in price per foot more than a slab on compacted dirt fill.  Once a home is 9’+ above the natural ground the area underneath can be used for storage, but additional steps and an elevator if needed will continue to increase the price.

In the long-term, homeowners are required by mortgage companies to put down somewhere between 5 to 20 percent of the purchase price and closing cost.  The problem is not the additional cost on a mortgage but if the house doesn’t appraise due to the higher construction costs, the owner will be forced to provide the additional $22,000 out of pocket and move into their home with negative equity.

All of this to say, that this ordinance is coming up for a vote tonight and is going to cost you, your children and your grandchildren a lot of money.  It will most likely reduce property values and land usage options.

When laws and legislation are made without proper input from professionals who work in the industry, it leads to ineffective rules that ultimately hurt the average citizen. The ordinance, as it stands, does not solve the problem of flooding and drainage in the parish, it merely passes an additional cost and burden to the resident.  Myself and members of the homebuilding industry had hoped to avoid this situation but have been largely shut out.

It is my hope and my colleagues hope, that we may be able to be a part of future conversations about safe, affordable, and quality housing in the parish. Until then, we will be fighting to keep the people of Ascension Parish’s hard-earned money in their wallets.

Sincerely,

Nathan Spicer

Resident and Builder of Ascension Parish

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