Part of I-10 interchange plan, rules suspended to approve Buzzard Roost Industrial Park

Grady Melancon [l] with his attorney, Dwight Poirrier (file photo)

By a 5-1 vote on January 13 (Wednesday), Ascension’s Planning Commission approved the 1st Filing of Buzzard Roost Industrial Park.  The action ignored the fact that Hwy 30 Level of Service is an unacceptable “E;” and the developer reneged on a deal made with neighboring landowners to provide a tree-lined buffer zone to shield residents.  Special treatment or not, Grady Melancon’s application was not subjected to Planning’s requirement that a Major Subdivision preliminary plat include traffic mitigation measures.

Part of a larger tract, 328 acres were rezoned from Conservation to Industrial on December 21, 2017.

Buzzard Roost property rezoned from Conservation to Industrial

According to Wednesday’s meeting packet:

“The proposed subdivision is located approximately 1,400 feet north of LA Hwy. 30 at the end of Industriplex Ave…The preliminary plat is the 1st filing of an anticipated larger industrial development. The 1st filing consists of +/-121.75 acres containing 48 lots ranging in size from 1 acre to 8.7 acres. The developer will retain ownership of the remainder parcels adjacent to the subject development.  Those parcels are not included in this application but will be considered in a future phase of this industrial development.”

As to traffic, the Staff had this to offer:

“The Louisiana DOTD has plans for an interchange at I-10 and Cornerview (LA Hwy. 429) that would have an impact on this and surrounding properties when installed. When the interchange is constructed, a corridor between I-10 and LA Hwy 30 will be provided that will allow an alternate route for traffic from the industrial corridor along the Mississippi River to the interstate.  This development will lie adjacent to and likely within that corridor. The Parish would like to work with the developer to create a plan of action when that situation occurs. Connections to LA 30, LA 73 to a future interchange at I-10 would greatly relieve the traffic situation in the southern portion of the Parish. The Parish has had discussion with the developer of the property related to the corridor and would like to see that analysis presented in a formal context.”

When will that interchange be constructed?

According to DOTD’s Connie Betts, who appeared before the Parish Council’s Transportation Committee the day before, it will not happen until an “environmental study” is accomplished, hopefully in three years.  Then, maybe, construction will commence somewhere southeast of Cornerview Road’s I-10 overpass.  In the meantime, Melancon’s development will be accessed via Industriplex Ave, as opposed to a newly-constructed road from Hwy 30.

Quality Engineering’s Deric Murphy conceded Hwy 30’s substandard Level of Service, offering additional lanes of travel as the solution.  Expect Hwy 30 to be widened about the same time as construction of that interchange at Cornerview.

When/if DOTD ever builds that interchange, a connector road from Hwy 30 to Cornerview would traverse the Buzzard Roost property.  That is according to Ascension Planning Director Jerome Fournier who also described an “east-west connection from this future road to Hwy 73.”  Uncertain, to be kind, Buzzard Roost First Filing was approved as Engineering Review Agent Shaun Sherrow raised a number of concerns:

  • Rear Alleys: Waiver to 17-4035 regarding need for rear alleys is being requested by the applicant.
  • Road Typical Section: Waiver to Section 17-4034 allow open ditch roadway to be constructed of asphalt instead of concrete and to allow roadside ditch slopes to be flatter than 3:1 as depicted in Typical Street Section on this plat is being requested.
  • Sanitary Sewer: Administration will allow the Buzzard Roost project to move forward with a sewer treatment plant that is designed, built and owned by an entity other than the Parish. The Parish will allow a temporary treatment facility until such time as a permanent facility can be built within the subdivision or connection is made to a permanent facility elsewhere. Developer is willing to install a collection system and treatment plant. However, applicant is not applying for that option at this time. There shall be no sewer discharge to ditches within public right of way.
  • A westbound right turn lane on LA 30 at Industriplex is needed per traffic study.
  • A eastbound left turn lane on LA 30 at Industriplex is needed per traffic study.
  • Parish staff and has indicated that existing Industriplex is inadequate to accommodate this phase of Buzzard Roost and definitely not sufficient for future filings beyond current proposed project.. A decision needs to be made about any limitations on use of Industriplex and responsibilities for repairing.
  • The ERA has not been presented a traffic solution that addresses both the Parish’s limitations regarding use of Industriplex and a traffic solution for accommodating a higher range of trips that ERA feels is more appropriate when considering trends from recent developments.
  • Traffic study shows that LA 30 is worse than a D. Additional lanes on La 30 has been identified as the solution to improve LOS to a D or better.

The approval was made with several conditions.  Commissioner Julio Dumas’ original motion included:

  • Boldly “labeling Conservation zone” on the plat;
  • Industriplex to provide temporary access only “until other means of ingress/egress are in place at which time that access has to be severed;”
  • Developer to provide “overall conceptual master plan for (traffic) circulation prior to Final Plat approval;”
  • Curb and gutter road;
  •   Sewer treatment provided;
  • Alleys along rear of industrial parcels.

After Dumas’ motion died for lack of a second, Commissioner Aaron Chaisson’s offered an amended motion to add…

  • Applicant provide a transportation plan for the major streets within the entire development including future phases, industrial and residential, showing the relationship to the proposed Louisiana DOTD corridor connecting LA Hwy 30 and the future I-10 interchange;
  • Require applicant designate approximate location for a future possible Sewer Treatment Plant so if and when this occurs, he will not be required to apply for a major revision to the preliminary plat.

It would be approved.  Joining Chaisson and Dumas in the majority were Chairman Matthew Pryor with Ken Firmin and Robert Hodgson.  Commissioner Richard Carmouche was alone in the minority.  Commissioner Shannon Hutchings was absent.