Parish Council Oks settlement of suit

Published 12:00 am Monday, January 25, 1999

By LEONARD GRAY / L’Observateur / January 25, 1999

HAHNVILLE – The West Bank hurricane protection levee project spawned more contention Tuesday at the meeting of the St. Charles Parish Council.Councilman G. “Ram” Ramchandran pushed for approval of his ordinancedirecting Tregre and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to settle theirdifferences over alignment of the proposed levee within 30 days and proceed with construction as soon as possible.

However, the ordinance as originally proposed and advertised in the official journal was discarded at the meeting and a heavily-revamped ordinance offered for approval.

“These are too many revisions,” Councilmen Brian Champagne and Bill Sirmon pointed out, and Sirmon moved the new version be introduced and advertised for consideration at the Feb. 1 meeting.”This is nothing but a parliamentary move to push back the issue!” complained Ramchandran.

Parish attorney Randy Lewis said what was offered that night was “less intrusive” than the original and said it was fine for consideration that night.

Tregre disagreed and sided with Sirmon and Champagne. “The summarieshere are very different!” the parish president said.

“The public didn’t know, I didn’t know and it’s totally unfair!” Champagne declared.

The original ordinance mandated a report on negotiation progress be made in 30 days. The revised version mandated negotiations be finished.Joseph Fisher and Art Carlson each addressed the Parish Council on the West Bank hurricane protection levee issue. Fisher urged haste inconcluding the negotiations, and pointed out the parish has sustained four 100-year storms in the past 20 years.

Carlson likewise urged a prompt end to the negotiations and said both sides need to compromise to get off the current stance. “I am not beyondcompromising,” Tregre responded. “But they’re not a whole lot concernedabout who floods and who don’t.”On the moratorium on residential development, Ramchandran was successful in having approved a supplemental ordinance making clear that the moratorium would not affect any subdivision development whose preliminary plat has already been approved.

In another matter, the Parish Council approved an ordinance amending parish subdivision regulations to require council approval of any drainage impact analysis waiver for proposed subdivisions.

Ramchandran said the ordinance “made a lot of sense,” while Champagne said it would open up council liability. Councilman Dickie Duhe added:”This might lead us to where we don’t want to be in the future.”Nevertheless, the matter was narrowly approved 5-3 with Duhe, Champagne and Authement voting against it and Ron Phillips absent.

In another matter, Port of South Louisiana commissioner Gregory Lier and port executive director Gary LaGrange reported to the council on port activities and announced plans for a new general cargo dock to be built in St. Charles Parish at a site to be determined.To this end, a $4.5 million request has been forwarded for inclusion on theState Capital Outlay Bill.

In connection with the Jan. 14 90-car accident series on Interstate 10,Champagne issued a call to area law enforcement agencies to review ideas for convoying motorists along the 12-mile span during foggy conditions.

Also, Tregre and the council asked the Louisiana Congressional delegation to oppose enforced inclusion of civil service employees in the Social Security program, and pointed out it would undermine current pension programs.

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