On May 8, 2019 a unanimous Ascension Planning Commission approved the 43-lot preliminary plat for Evelyn Estates subdivision, but with conditions so onerous that the developer walked away. On Wednesday the commission is scheduled to consider a 37-lot preliminary plat for Clare Court, situated on the same 24 acres north of Cornerview Road, approximately .5 miles west of the I-10 overpass. What has changed (or not)?
While 90% of the subject acreage lies within Flood Zone AE, it was traffic congestion upon which the former commission focused in 2019. Without a new traffic study being conducted, the developer (H1 Associates) relies on the December 2018 data provided in Evelyn Estates’ application. From the minutes of that meeting:
“(Former Commission Wade) Schexnaydre pointed out that the existing Level of Service is a level “F” and “E” and in some cases below a “D”. He stated, according to the Parish’s Traffic Impact Policy they cannot build their subdivision unless they improve or mitigate it.”
The policy, in pertinent part, reads:
““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 LOS is below “D”, the required mitigating improvements shall improve the LOS to “D” or better.”
Evelyn Estates’ approval was made contingent upon the developer improving the Level of Service at the intersection formed by Cornerview and Chester Diez roads up to a “D.” A second intersection, Cornerview/Hwy 73 also fell below requisite LOS. How could the developer achieve that result?
From the May 8, 2019 meeting packet:
Conclusion from Evelyn Estates Traffic Study: The existing analysis shows that the intersection at Cornerview/LA 73 operates worse than a LOS of D. A northbound right-turn lane and roundabout would improve the intersection to an acceptable LOS, but it would require LADOTD approval and further study. According to the existing analysis at 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.
A six-lot reduction, like that envisioned by Clare Court’s preliminary plat, does nothing to address these stated concerns.
Since Evelyn Estates was considered three new members (Shannon Hutchings, Robert Hodgson, and Richard Carmouche) have been sworn onto the Planning Commission (replacing Anthony Christy, Wade Schexnaydre, and Morrie Bishop). Wednesday’s meeting, which also includes…
will be a barometer on the development philosophy of those new commissioners.