St. Charles OKs new subdivsion inspections

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 12, 2008


Staff Reporter

HAHNVILLE — The St. Charles Council voted to approve a measure requiring that new subdivisions be inspected by a parish-sanctioned inspector a year after the development is approved.

District 4 Councilman Paul Hogan, who is employed by a developer in the parish, introduced the ordinance and stated that it would prevent the parish from having to repair faulty utility lines and substandard roads and streets.

“On occasion things are found that are not initially noticed,” said Hogan. “Anything that breaks within a year, the developer is responsible for fixing it.”

St. Charles Director of Public Works Sam Scholle said the ordinance is necessary since there is currently no formal method in place regarding inspections of new subdivisions.

The measure was well received by the entire council, and by Parish President V.J. St. Pierre, but discussion went on for several minutes as St. Pierre and the council debated over who should pay the fees for the inspection. The council eventually moved to amend the ordinance to include language that mandates the developer pay a $1,000 fee for the inspection with any unused money being reimbursed once inspection is complete.

“New subdivisions should not be called complete until final inspection takes place after a year,” St. Pierre said. “There should also be a first inspection after six months. I think we should also consider making the developer pay for the inspection.”

Although he originally sponsored the measure, Hogan voted against the final draft of the ordinance because he did not agree that the developer should pay for the inspection.

“The developer puts up a 10 percent performance bond before construction begins, which covers issues like streets and sewers,” Hogan said. “The developer already pays an assortment of fees and should not be burdened to foot the bill for inspections.”

Also voting against the amended ordinance were Council Chairman Dennis Nuss and District 6 Councilman Marcus Lambert, who believed that the fee should be broader.

“It is a good ordinance otherwise,” said Lambert.

In other action, the council voted unanimously to approve a measure that clearly defines loitering laws within the parish and sets a fine of $100 for first offenses. The ordinance, which mirrors loitering laws in Jefferson Parish, includes all public places of business as well as after-hours loitering in parks.