Ascension Parish Council extends development moratorium
ASCENSION PARISH, La. (WAFB) - Around Ascension Parish, you can see signs of growth but development is causing problems for some residents, so officials voted on Thursday, April 7, to extend the development moratorium until May 31.
“Now that we have all these developments, what has happened is they keep building them up and houses that were not going to flood before are now flooding or susceptible to flooding,” said Tim Babin, an Ascension Parish resident.
To figure out a way to help flooding and traffic, and still support growth, Ascension Parish Council members put a building moratorium in place in July 2021.
“We have been working together with the Kindig-Keist folks and our own planning department and the administration for months now on some major changes to the ULDC,” said Councilwoman Teri Casso.
Since then, they’ve hired a consulting firm from Texas to look at those problems but Casso said they need more time.
“In those discussions just in the last few weeks, we have seen some things that we wanted to talk about more and make sure we get them right,” added Casso.
Extending the moratorium to May 31 is not enough time, according to Babin.
“They might need a little extra time if they have to go back maybe and do something. I’d like to see it extended at least three more months,” explained Babin.
The majority of council members, besides two who were not present, voted to extend the moratorium because of ongoing changes in the unified land development code that will focus on fixing the flooding, traffic, and development issues of the parish. Right now, the parish is still working in Phase 1.
“What I want to see is that my neighbors, my friends, my family are able to have their investments protected,” said Babin.
Ascension is not the only parish looking closely at how development impacts flooding.
Iberville Parish adopted a year-long moratorium on new construction in June 2021. In February, officials there lifted the moratorium after adding new laws for new development.
East Baton Rouge Parish adopted a temporary ban as well in September for specified projects in flood hazard areas. It is still in effect.
“That’s why we are in the problem we are in today. For 30 years we haven’t planned for growth, now we are starting to plan better for growth,” said Councilman Aaron Lawler.
Parish President Clint Cointment said if there is a need to extend the moratorium in the future to things done, the parish will, but at the end of the day, it all comes down to working with one another.
“Politics is the art of compromise, okay; you have to be flexible,” said Cointment. “This is a two-part government. I was not elected king but I do get the right to voice my opinion and voice the opinion of the residents who talk for me.”
He believes the parish will get everything done within Phase 1 by the May 31 deadline.
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