New Ama land study limits mobile homes

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 15, 2008


Staff Reporter

HAHNVILLE – A new zoning plan recently approved by the St. Charles Council will limit the amount of land space that can be used for placement of mobile homes in the Ama community.

The measure is the result of a 39-page land use study that was commissioned in late 2007 after residents of Ama complained that they were unaware that an RV park was being built in their community.

Planning Director Kim Marousek said that residents were also concerned that new subdivisions could allow mobile homes in the community.

“The study looks at what types of zoning would be appropriate for this community given their future vision,” Marousek said.

The top recommendations of the study, which was conducted by Urban Systems Inc. of New Orleans, include rezoning a large percentage of residential property from R1-AM, which allows for mobile homes, to R1-A, which calls for single-family homes and forbids the placement of new trailers. The R1-AM designation, which allows mobile homes on 5,000-square-foot lots, would remain in areas of Ama where mobile homes are more common. Zoning for OL (open land) which allows agriculture, site-built homes and mobile homes on larger lots, is also an option. The study concluded that there are roughly 100 trailers already situated in Ama.

The land use study was completed in May of 2008 and was the subject of a June town hall meeting where residents expressed their thoughts on changes and revisions. The St. Charles Planning and Zoning Committee approved the revised study before it garnered the support of the parish council.

The study also recommended looking into the development of more affordable housing that is not the small lot “cookie cutter” subdivisions that deteriorate quickly. The study said residents were concerned by the limited number of homes available for their children.

On the commercial end, the study concluded that commercial property zoned for office space be rezoned to allow for more neighborhood retail establishments, such as grocery stores and small markets, and recommended tax incentives to encourage development. The study said that the majority of Ama’s 1,285 residents must travel to Boutte or Luling for goods and services.

The study said that Ama’s population has the potential to grow to as much as 5,200, but the area would be hindered by the lack of direct access to US 90 because of wetland issues, and the presence of two railroad lines between the parallel corridors of US 90 and River Road, the major artery that services Ama. The study calls for an in depth traffic analysis of the area. It also said that if landowners allowed for new development, improvements to wastewater treatment facilities and other utilities would be necessary.

Other notable recommendations include the quick completion of a bicycle/pedestrian path atop the Mississippi River levee; improvements and additions to existing recreational facilities near the ADM grain elevator, such as lighting for nighttime use; and more emphasis on code enforcement regarding blighted property and junk in residential areas.