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 fight to clean up Lafayette Parish could get some added ammunition with two ordinances up for votes Tuesday by the City-Parish Council targeting litter-bugs.
By striking a deal to lessen the blow of health insurance changes on state workers, school employees and retirees, Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration lowered the volume of criticism but gave itself and local school boards a new budget headache.
With the airport tax coming up for a parishwide vote in about a week, the Broussard City Council and its mayor have come out in support of the proposal.
Protesters rallied peacefully in several Louisiana cities in the wake of the Missouri grand jury decision not to indict a police officer in the fatal shooting of Michal Brown.
US cities bidding on Olympics; Guard prevents more Ferguson riots; storm threatens travel and more national and international news for Wednesday, November 26, 2014.
Wednesday's Blogs from the Bog!
The U.S. rep billed LSU for work allegedly performed on the same days Congress voted on major legislation and held important committee hearings on energy and the ACA.
Abysmally low participation by the public has prompted the council to scuttle the 2014 survey with plans to simplify it and try again next year.
The village now says the ordinance will likely be overturned and authorities will more vigorously enforce existing leash laws.
Bill Cassidy cast an early ballot Tuesday, seeking to draw renewed attention to a race that has fallen off newspaper front pages and away from people's minds as they plan holiday meals and shopping schedules.
Battered all night by Baltimore's relentless pass rush, Drew Brees could feel his protection collapsing and Terrell Suggs getting ahold of him as he urgently unloaded a pass to the right flat toward tight end Jimmy Graham.
After a convincing defeat at the polls on Nov. 4, Earl “Nickey” Picard has decided to let bygones be bygones with his former right-hand man Brian Pope, announcing his support for his former employee’s runoff bid to become Lafayette’s next city marshal.
Saturday the athletic department did everything possible to ensure the 2014 Ragin’ Cajun seniors remembered fondly their last home game. Rain and lightning never arrived but turbulence did in the form of the Appalachian State Mountaineers.
Even stranger than the Republican Party’s decision to hold a “unity rally” earlier this month for Congressman Bill Cassidy in a Baton Rouge bar, Huey’s Bar, was the fact that the establishment was named after Louisiana’s most famous Democrat.
Bar Code is not a gay bar.
After failing to pass a medical marijuana bill last year, state Sen. Fred Mills, R-Parks, is telling supporters he will return in 2015 with legislation that focuses on different applications like oils and pills.
Voters, obviously, are not yet tuned into the 2015 ballot, despite the intriguing races it will host.
By now, the story of how longtime LSU coach Dale Brown discovered Shaquille O'Neal has been told many times: Brown happened upon a massive 13-year-old at an army base in Germany, stayed in touch with him and eventually became like a second father.
Fate simply wasn't ready to give the New Orleans Saints a break from longtime nemesis Steve Smith.
Lafayette Police have had a busy day.
Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration will use $130 million in patchwork financing from a tax amnesty program, insurance settlement, uninsured motorist penalties and other excess funds to close most of the state's midyear budget deficit.
Democratic U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu said she disagrees with President Barack Obama's actions on immigration, hoping the latest controversy doesn't worsen her campaign difficulties.
Gay-rights advocates challenging Louisiana's same-sex marriage ban announced Thursday that they have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review their case before it is heard by a federal appeals court.
Thinking himself the “son of God,” the man charged with the 2013 killing of an officer of the Chitimacha Tribal Police will not stand trial following a ruling Thursday on his mental competency.
Either Saints coach Sean Payton doesn't want to tip Baltimore off as to who'll start in New Orleans' secondary on Monday night, or he really doesn't know yet.