Cointment: “I Pledge to Repeal Master Plan”

Clint Cointment (R)

As your next Parish President I pledge to repeal the Master Plan adopted by the Planning Commission on May 29.  The 205-page document is flawed and, much worse, does NOT capture the will of Ascension Parish citizens.  It was produced behind closed doors, ignoring hundreds of your comments and concerns even though $450,000 of our tax dollars paid for it.

Rather than listen to citizens, Center for Planning Excellence (CPEX) conducted six Stakeholder Committee meetings behind closed doors to avoid public scrutiny.  I was honored to join over 100 of you on Wednesday to fight for what we all know is right.  It is regrettable that Ascension Parish Government, the administration and council, failed to ensure that our voices mattered.

It was a frustrating night, to put it mildly.  The battle is not over.

Among my first priorities upon taking office is the repeal and replacement of that Master Plan.  Together we will create a better, stronger document that reflects our vision for Ascension Parish, not CPEX’s confusing Vision Map.  We will do it with in-house resources without spending any more of your hard-earned money.

What does this vision do?  Higher residential density is at the heart of that Master Plan, even though we all oppose it.  While the plan is flawed, the process was worse as the real decision-makers never appeared at four Open Houses to explain the predetermined intentions to the residents of Ascension who took the time out of their busy schedules to participate.

We will conduct the PEOPLES’ BUSINESS in the open, for all to see with every meeting being televised on AP 21, the parish governmental channel paid for by our tax dollars, available at all times on YouTube.  Our Master Plan will clearly spell out residential density and all other issues important to you.

Currently our maximum residential density, exemplified most prominently in north Ascension Parish, is three lots per acre.  Does anyone in Prairieville think higher density is a good idea?  Maybe those residents would prefer lower density.

Maybe parish-wide density should be reduced to two lots per acre.  Our new Master Plan process will offer an opportunity for that discussion.

What about residents of the area zoned Conservation in the Highway 44 corridor surrounding Pelican Point Subdivision?  Once a rural haven, spot-zoning threatens to destroy that cherished quality of life.  Those residents should, and will, have a say in the decisions affecting their lives.

The plan adopted two days ago includes 12 Neighborhood Hubs, with no guidance as to size or allowable density.  We already have three hubs in Ascension; the City of Gonzales, the Town of Sorrento, and the City of Donaldsonville.  If your desire is to live in a tightly-clustered urban setting there are plenty of opportunities (especially in Gonzales).

Our zoning law already includes Planned Unit Developments (PUDs), some of which have been developed to exceed the three lot per acre maximum.  It is my belief that our Master Plan should ensure these PUDs adhere to density restrictions.  You may agree or disagree; the point is that we should be having that discussion during the Master Plan process.

Parish Government would have you believe it is our responsibility to adopt a Master Plan catering to 50,000+ new residents.  This is nothing more than a scare tactic because we can control our destiny.  Ascension will experience internal growth as our kids start their own families.  Our responsibility is to them, to preserve the quality of life so attractive to outsiders.

It is disheartening to hear longtime residents tell me they are ready to move out of Ascension Parish.  I hear it everyday now, so much more than during the 2015 campaign.  As your Parish President I will do all in my power to reverse that trend, beginning with repeal of the Master Plan.  Together, we will take back our future.

Thanks, and God Bless

Clint Cointment

The Clear Choice