In a five-hour meeting Ascension’s Parish Council, by a 7-4 vote, opted to impose a nine-month moratorium on “future subdivision of property,” excluding industrially-zoned acreage but specifically including family partitions and simple divisions. The Council opted for its own proposal (no individual member claimed authorship) after adding three months to the original version; rejecting President Clint Cointment’s 12-month proposal and denying “the up or down vote” he requested. If a good compromise leaves everyone unhappy the vote almost fit the bill.
No doubt the seven-member majority was pleased. Anytime they can get over on Cointment is a good day for…
The version adopted, in its entirety (with amended/added verbiage in red):
TO ADOPT A TEMPORARY MORATORIUM ON THE EAST BANK OF THE PARISH REGARDING SUBDIVISON OF PROPERTY
WHEREAS, the population of the Parish of Ascension is increasing; and due to the continued severe weather events that cause local flooding across Ascension Parish and in consideration of the
health, safety, and welfare of the Ascension Parish citizens, BE IT RESOLVED AS FOLLOWS:
THAT THERE IS HEREBY ENACTED A MORATORIUM on future subdivision of property, for nine months to further evaluate the following needs:
- Engineering Firm, or subject matter expert, to review the Drainage Impact Study and make recommendations to Council for consideration.
- Engineering Firm, or subject matter expert, to review drainage requirements for Family Partitions and make recommendations to Council for consideration.
- Planning Firm, or subject matter expert, to consider reducing residential density across all zoning classifications – Parish Government will explore alternatives to determine development density by considering all factors that affect each piece of property (road width, flood zone, wetlands, servitudes and easements, etc.) and make recommendations to Council for consideration.
- Engineer/Architectural Firm, or subject matter expert, to investigate alternative construction in flood zones and make recommendations to Council for consideration.
- Engineering Firm, or subject matter expert, to determine feasibility of regional stormwater detention and make recommendations to Council for consideration.
- Engineering Firm, or subject matter expert, to review Fill Ordinance (Drainage Ordinance) and make recommendations to Council for consideration.
- Administration shall conduct a Budget Review for Drainage and provide formal ordinances to Council within 6 months.
- Planning Commission will begin process of revising the Master Plan relevant to the completion of listed items above
- Revise the Unified Land Development Code to comply with the latest adopted Master Plan.
The Parish President and administration shall be required to provide monthly status updates on all aspects of the moratorium, including substantive answers to Citizen and Council questions.
NOW THEREFORE BE IT ORDAINED, by the Ascension Parish Governing Authority, as of the effective date of this ordinance, six month moratorium on any future subdivision of property to include all divisions of land that have not been submitted to the Planning Department by the effective date of this ordinance. This includes the acceptance, approval, and completion of pre applications for the submissions for acceptance of any Preliminary Plat(s) for subdivision of property.
** Subdivision of property shall mean any simple division, family partition, minor subdivision, or major subdivision. This shall exclude subdivision of property zoned light, medium, or heavy industrial.
Cointment, who proposed a 12-month moratorium that excluded family partitions and simple subdivisions, was not so enamored of the decision. His proposal would have excluded Ascension’s Planning Commission from participation in developing a Growth Master Plan “for development that incorporates all our different plans into one seamless and usable document.”
Neither were a vocal throng of citizens, 39 of whom spoke in favor of Cointment’s moratorium, all that happy. A contingent representing homebuilders/developers left unsatisfied too…
even after cozying up with Prairieville Councilman Corey Orgeron during a meeting recess.
Four councilmen supported Cointment’s lengthier moratorium…
“We owe y’all nothing,” Councilman Joel Robert addressed the homebuilders in attendance in stark contrast to certain of his colleagues.
Noting that approximately 2,000 residential lots, already approved but unbuilt, “remain in the pipeline,” Robert sluffed off the homebuilders’ doom and gloom projections for Ascension’s economy. He deemed continued approval of major subdivisions without necessary infrastructure the more perilous path.
“If we do less than 12 months we are letting the people of Ascension Parish down,” concluded Councilman Michael Mason, voicing a legislative philosophy alien to a majority of his colleagues.
Councilman Chase Melancon favored the parish president’s lengthier version, especially because it would not prohibit the time-honored practice of family partitions so favored in St. Amant.
None were as perturbed as the parish president.
“If this is gonna be the council’s plan, then it’s on the council to do it,” Cointment addressed a gallery full of citizens, insisting nine months is insufficient to accomplish the moratorium’s stated goals.