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Zoning board revamped by St. Charles Council

By LEONARD GRAY / L’Observateur / November 18, 1998

HAHNVILLE – The Zoning Board of Adjustment in St. Charles Parish wasofficially re-constituted after months of contention at Monday’s meeting of the Parish Council.

The council hammered out a last-minute agreement to have seven members on the formerly five-member board, each representing a different council district.

“Why not the Housing Authority? Why not the Hospital Board?” Councilman Ellis Alexander asked. “This is a bad thing.”Councilman Barry Minnich helped push through a last-minute change to eliminate two alternative board member positions, each of whom would be appointed by the at-large councilmen.

He was opposed in the move by Councilmen Brian Champagne and Bill Sirmon, both of whom felt backup for the board was important for fair representation.

Council chairman “Ram” Ramchandran stressed, “The main purpose is for fair representation on the board.”The measure passed in a 6-2 vote, with Sirmon and Champagne voting against and Ron Phillips absent.

The Parish Council also approved a prohibition for re-applications to the ZBA of previously-denied appeals involving the same property. It wasamended to include the following statement: “This rule applies to all cases in which the identity of the thing applied for and the person and/or entities involved are the same.”Also, the Parish Council approved a prohibition of culvert installation in a subdivision already approved for open swales or ditches. “If it’s openditch now, it should stay that way,” Parish President Chris Tregre said.

Perennial council critic Stanford Caillouet declared, “Swale does not work and never has worked!” and urged that no subdivision should be allowed without subsurface drainage.

Champagne said one major problem is construction companies who work on a lot after the ditches are approved and load it up with runoff material. Aprohibition on this practice was approved by the Parish Council several years ago, but no penalties for violation were included.

Gregory Lier of Rathborne Land Co. said Champagne was “absolutely right”and noted the ordinance demands the builders restore the ditches to their original state after construction is complete, but said there’s no teeth in the law.

The measure was approved 7-1, with Johnson voting against it.

Alexander pushed through a resolution asking for road lighting at the intersection of Interstates 10 and 310, north of St. Rose. He said it wouldcut accidents and serve as a navigational aid for pilots at nearby New Orleans International Airport.

The community of Montz will soon have its name on the local water tower, thanks to the urging of Parish Councilman Dickie Duhe. Tower painting andrehabilitation is under way and to add the name would give the community better visibility and civic pride and cost less than $4,000.

Johnson urged a similar measure be taken in St. Rose.

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