Since 2012 no less than 39 subdivision preliminary plats have been filed with Ascension’s Planning Department and 22 of those were filed within the last 14 months. Most recently, Quality Engineering & Surveying, LLC has been the engineer of choice, representing ten of the last 13 proposed developments, and is not used to being told, “No.” Quality’s Jared “Burger” Beiriger does not take rejection well, demanding that Ascension’s Planning Director bend to his will.
February was a cruel month for Quality.
Still smarting from the Planning Commission’s February 10 denial of its preliminary subdivision plat off Parker Rd, Quality received more bad news on February 24. Planning Director Ricky Compton delivered the message, no approval of final plats would be forthcoming on Quality-engineered subdivisions, via email to Quality’s Joseph Labbe:
“As long as construction is not complete, and there is still work being performed in ROW (right of way), which includes utilities, no written final approval and acceptance will be granted from the Department of Public Works,” Compton wrote; adding “It has been decided by the Administration that this includes the Utilities necessary to move into a house-water and power.”
Quality placed three subdivisions on the last two Planning Commission agendas for Final Plat approval; River Landing (Second Filing),Germany Oaks, and Woodland Manor. All three were withdrawn from the January and February agendas by the engineering firm.
River Landing’s final inspection was denied on February 24 according to Beiriger’s reply email of the same date “because Ascension water (sic) failed to make their schedule as promised.” Germany Oaks was scheduled for inspection on February 25 although he admitted “water almost completed and power poles left to be installed.”
March is shaping up to be crueler still for Quality and its development brethren. The Parish Council’s Strategic Planning Committee agenda for March 1 includes item No. 5, “Discussion of a Moratorium on New Development.”
And Beiriger is not happy about it, voicing his displeasure in the aforementioned email to the Planning Director.
“I think you should start doing your job by enforcing the ordinances of Ascension Parish and not the policies that you deem fit to arbitrarily add to the code. The parish is governed by ordinances approved by the council and not policies and I demand you and whoever else involved start following your own ordinances,” replied Beireger, a former councilman himself.
Beiriger took issue with Compton’s interpretation of Ordinance 17-4010 of Ascension’s Subdivision Regulation. Entitled Acceptance of Improvements for Construction, it reads:
“Upon the satisfactory completion of construction, the sub divider shall obtain written final approval and acceptance from the Department of Public Works. (See Section 17-408).”
Since neither section (17-4010 and 17-408) specifically “mention the utility requirement” noted in Compton’s email, Beiriger accuses him of “arbitrarily” adding to code requirements.
“Since this requirement is not included within ordinances as written and approved, whose ordinance breaking policy within this administration is this?”
The third subdivision, Woodland Manor, is scheduled for final inspection today (according to Beiriger’s email) but:
“We are awaiting Ascension Water to tie this sub-division into its outside source. Will this request be granted or will the parish again break its own ordinance?” Beiriger wrote, anticipatory consternation evident in the rhetorical question.
Ascension’s Planning Director does not answer to Quality Engineering, public perception notwithstanding.
Ricky Compton does attribute the inclusion of “Utilities” within 17-4010 (B)’s requirements:
“For a period of twelve (12) months after acceptance of the work, the sub divider shall keep all filled trenches, pipes, manholes, structures, paving, lights, etc. constructed by him in good condition”
to “the Administration.”
And he did copy Ascension’s Chief Administrative Officer Ken Dawson (along with legal counsel O’Neil Parenton and Cody Martin) with his February 24 email.
Beiriger went him one better, copying the same parish personnel while adding Parish President Kenny Matassa to the list of recipients of his reply. Also copied was Beiriger’s partner, Deric Murphy.
Does Murphy have the parish president’s ear?
President Matassa named him to the transition team upon assuming office. Quality Engineering ponied up $5,000, in two maximum contributions, to Matassa’s campaign; and so did another Deric Murphy-owned company, Landco Construction Services, LLC.
Pelican Post emailed Beiriger and Murphy on February 26 (and copied Planning Director Compton), seeking further comment. No response has been forthcoming.