While Lafayette Parish continues to debate the merits of impact fees in order to fund infrastructure for new development, the Iberia Parish Sewerage District Board isn't waiting around. The parish had no money for capital improvements to increase capacity in its existing sewer lines, making it impossible for new developments to be approved. With approximately 900 residential and commercial lots in three subdivisions awaiting preliminary approval of the Iberia Parish Regional Planning Commission, the SDB quietly passed a $750 per residence or commercial building sewer impact fee which will affect all new development in the rural parts of the parish.
The developers, Kirk Seiber and Troy Comeaux of Timberstone Estates, and Lorna Bourg, executive director of Southern Mutual Help Association, pushed for a solution to the inadvertent moratorium, which has discouraged development in the parish since the 1990s. The answer was a "sewer tie-in" or impact fee, something Lafayette developers have been resisting since the idea arose out of a trip members of the Lafayette Planning Commission took to Lincoln, Neb. last November. While the $750 cap is higher than the Iberia Parish developers wanted, it does free them to move forward once the parish approves their site plans. The funds, which will be paid up front to the Iberia Parish Sewerage District No. 1, are dedicated for capital improvement and expansion of the system, and can also be used as a local match for state funds, greatly increasing the parish's likelihood of receiving state and federal grants.
Iberia Parish's Sewerage Board was created under the authority of the state constitution and instituted by the Iberia Parish Police Jury in the mid-1970s. The board has five appointed members, an executive director and a single minded mission to oversee the sewerage needs of the rural parts of the parish. The board has the authority to incur debt, issue bonds, and pass ordinances. Lafayette City-Parish Consolidated Government has no such board; all ordinances must be passed by the council. Thus the process of levying an impact fee for sewerage has to negotiate the minefield of politics, where a lot of good ideas die torturous deaths.
SMHA's proposal to build Teche Ridge, a traditional neighborhood development, has also pushed the Iberia Parish Regional Planning Commission to ask for a smart growth ordinance. Nearly 10 years ago when it was proposed, Lafayette flagship TND River Ranch required more than 100 variances to the conventional subdivision ordinance that governs new development. The Iberia Parish Regional Planning Commission wanted to avoid taking that route. Two weeks ago, the Iberia Parish Council contracted David Moore, an engineer with Freyou, Moore and Associates to draw up the new zoning ordinance, which is on schedule to be brought up for review in two to three months. Currently, Moore is reviewing codes from other communities such as east Baton Rouge and Thibodaux, to see what will fit best in Iberia Parish.
The TND ordinance will address elements such as street width, open space, lot size, setbacks, alley dimensions and possibly amenities such as sidewalks and street trees. Once adopted, the parish will have two parallel ordinances, a conventional subdivision ordinance and the new TND ordinance. Developers will have the option to choose one or the other, but not combine elements from each one.
Lafayette Planning, Zoning and Codes Director Eleanor Bouy says that a TND code is on her wish list. While she has been working closely with River Ranch architect Steve Oubre, writing the code is time consuming and expensive. "A smart growth ordinance can be a page or an encyclopedia," she says. The zoning ordinance adopted by Youngsville to accommodate its new TND, Sugar Mill Pond, was written by Bouy's office. "That is a zoning district with smart growth planning," she says. For the city of Lafayette, Bouy wants something more detailed and ambitious. However, every time she turns her attention to the code, she says the council sends her a new ordinance to write, which preempts her work on the smart code. And there is no pressure to create the ordinance at the moment. "There's no TND on line in Lafayette right now," Bouy says.
In Iberia Parish, Bourg's Teche Ridge is a train about to leave the station, and parish planners reacted to the immediate need for a smart growth policy. "I think it's a wise step, that shows excellent leadership in the parish," says Bourg. "I think Iberia Parish is ahead of the rest."
The Lafayette superintendent insists the budget is illegal and vows to fight on.
"I am not a scientist," Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell has said numerous times, a response that other members of his party have parroted.
Republicans are running strong races against endangered Democratic incumbents in states such as North Carolina, Colorado, Arkansas, Louisiana and Alaska. Republicans are also looking to replace retiring Democrats in Iowa and West Virginia with a GOP lawmaker.
Republican congressman Vance McAllister is trying to make up to Louisiana voters for getting too close to a married former employee.
You may not like all of “it,” but U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, unlike many of her colleagues, isn't sitting around twiddling her thumbs in Congress.
Saints safety Kenny Vaccaro says he "can't wait" to play against Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
The heat keeps rising for Iberia Parish Sheriff Louis Ackal as a new slate of corruption allegations surfaced this week.
If opposing defenses sell out to stop the Packers' passing game, they risk being gashed by powerful running back Eddie Lacy, a New Orleans-area native.
At the horn the officiating crew trotted to the tunnel and left security personnel to clean up after them.
Friday's Blogs from the Bog!
Sign "ninjas" cleaning up clutter; NYC doctor positive for Ebola; Ferguson grand jury decision nears; and more national and international news for Friday, October 24, 2014.
We can safely assume incumbent Chief K.P. Gibson isn’t too worried about this challenger.
Nationally, Republicans must gain six seats to win Senate control. The most competitive races, many in states where Obama lost in 2012, remain too close to call.
The Baton Rouge Republican has repeatedly battled a perception within his own party that he perhaps wasn't the best choice to carry the GOP banner.
Even if Jimmy Graham's production dips while the star tight end recovers from a shoulder injury, it looks like Drew Brees won't have much trouble finding other targets.
A former campaign manager for Senate candidate Rob Maness is striking at the Republican contender's tea party support, saying Maness only sought to appeal to conservative organizations because he needed money for his campaign.
Ninety-two percent of public school teachers were rated either effective or highly effective in a report the state issued marking the second year of a new statewide evaluation process.
School board members Mark Babineaux, Hunter Beasley and Tehmi Chassion can vote to fire Cooper — because we all know that’s exactly what they’ll do.
District 2 school board candidate Simon Mahan is hoping to unseat first-term incumbent and former Carencro Mayor Tommy Angelle in the Nov. 4 election.
District Attorney Mike Harson is showing his desperation by falsely attributing quotes to his opponent and blocking journalists from his social media.
The governor is traveling the country laying the groundwork for a possible 2016 presidential campaign, but his approval ratings at home hover well below 50 percent.
State District Judge Bob Downing extended the order and delayed a planned Wednesday hearing about a permanent injunction while negotiations continue between Attorney General Buddy Caldwell and the waste disposal site operator.
New Louisiana higher education commissioner Joseph Rallo will be paid more than his predecessor.
Elijah McGuire and Alonzo Harris each had four rushing touchdowns, and Louisiana-Lafayette rolled to 419 yards on the ground in a 55-40 victory over Arkansas State on Tuesday night.
Bill and Hillary Clinton are the validators-in-chief for Democrats struggling through a bleak campaign season in states where President Barack Obama is deeply unpopular.