St. John Council to review land use plan for future growth

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, March 1, 2005


Staff Reporter

LAPLACE – The St. John the Baptist Parish Council recently voted to proceed with a comprehensive land plan begun by the University of New Orleans in 1999.

When Councilman Cleveland Farlough addressed Parish President Nickie Monica Tuesday night, in regards to creating a five-year parish comprehensive plan, Councilman Steve Lee reminded the council and the administration that such a plan was begun several years ago, but had been dropped from the 2004 budget due to parish financial problems.

Farlough originally asked administration to develop one complete land plan for the entire parish and asked that the study include a vision statement, goals, objectives, time tables and other accommodations.

Once the plan was complete, he asked that it be presented to the council for approval.

Lee immediately interjected and told the council and the administration that such a plan had already started.

“The UNO plan is a tremendous plan. It is brilliant and unbiased,” said Lee. “This plan is not something you pull off the computer. It is developed by our own educators. These people know south Louisiana. They know what it is we need.”

Keith Gillies, Chairman of the Planning and Zoning Commission said Thursday the parish began looking at developing a complete land-use plan for the parish six years ago.

“We had zoning since 1984. However, places got missed on the map. That is when the parish developed the ‘Grandfather Provision’ to protect residents,” said Gillies.

Gillies said mixed zoning and trailer placement, along with parish growth, began to create problems within the parish.

“Growth on the West Bank, in Reserve, in Garyville and in LaPlace revealed to us we needed a plan,” said Gillies. “That is when we contacted UNO.”

To keep costs low for the parish, Gillies said UNO broke the plan down into stages.

Stage one was the discovery stage.

According to Gillies, the university held parish meetings, performed surveys, took pictures and produced field studies.

Using this information, maps were made, which

(See Plan, Page 7A)

(From Page 2A)

recorded every square of land in the parish.

The second stage is the recommendation stage.

“That is where we stopped the study,” said Gillies. “When we continue with the plan, this is where UNO will start.”

According to Gillies, over the next 12 to 18 months, UNO will review all information gathered in stage one. They will then compile a recommendation and present it to the parish council.

In stage three, an approved parish plan will be implemented.”That’s when it becomes political,” said Gillies.