Moratorium defeated, new LaPlace subdivision approved

Published 12:00 am Monday, June 20, 2005


Staff Reporter

LAPLACE — After a long debate, and outbursts from audience members, on whether or not to place a moratorium on new construction the St. John the Baptist Parish Council voted against it.

During the meeting an ordinance for approval of a residential 85-home subdivision in Reserve was presented. Immediately, the crowd was in an uproar at the very thought of it.

Councilwoman Jaclyn Hotard and Council Chairman Joel McTopy said they could not support construction of a new subdivision when there is such a huge problem with sewer capacity. The other council members said everyone should be treated the same and if one subdivision is approved, then they all should be approved.

Utility Director Ralph Bean was at the podium and was getting slammed with questions from the council after many residents complained.

Hotard asked Bean if the River Road site was at capacity and Bean admitted it was at capacity, but a new subdivision of this size would not affect it or make it stop working.

Hotard continued by asking, “Do you know for sure how many would stop it?” Bean said, “No, but it shouldn’t hurt it.”

“It could be one or 500,” Hotard said. “I cannot support it.”

Councilman Lester Rainey asked if the Woodland sewer treatment plant had enough capacity for more flow and after explaining how it was an assessment plant used for the residents in that particular area that paid for it, Bean said there was capacity left from what the Parish owns to direct some of the flow there.

“Woodland has the capacity for the subdivision,” Lee said. “So, that’s what we need to do.”

“What is a short-term solution to this problem?” Smith said. Bean responded by saying sewerage from the River Road site, could be flowed to the Woodland Sewer treatment plant, in order to make more room for new construction.

Despite efforts from Hotard, McTopy and the audience, the council voted 7-2 to give the go-ahead on the construction of the new subdivision.