St. James looking at land use Monday

Published 12:00 am Saturday, December 11, 2010



CONVENT – The steering committee for the St. James Parish comprehensive land use study will hold a general meeting next week to examine proposed vision statements for the future of the parish.

The meeting is set for Monday at 6 p.m. at the Lutcher Senior Center, located at 2631 Louisiana Ave. Residents, parish officials and representatives from the 19-member committee will all participate in the discussion.

“The steering committee members will hear different submitted vision statements and vote on the best one,” said parish spokesperson Melissa Wilkins. “The focus of the meeting will continue with land use and drafting the parish plan. It is also a time when residents can attend and ask questions.”

Monday’s meeting is part of an 18-month long St. James Parish comprehensive land use study, which began in March under the guidance of the South Central Planning and Development Commission. Wilkins said the SCPDC was awarded the contract for the study in January. Simone Cesar, a representative for South Central Planning, said the meetings have gone in several directions but added that the members have a good handle on what is important regarding future growth.

“Recreation has been a big topic,” she said. “There have also been many discussions about sewerage and drainage concerns. Every meeting has invoked lots of healthy conversation.”

Cesar said the steering committee members have agreed the biggest opportunities for growth in St. James lie in attracting diverse business and industrial developments as well as building new affordable housing.

The project planners are interested in developing a creative land-use plan to protect the natural landscaping while also making it welcoming to new commercial and financial opportunities.

Cesar said the steering committee has planned another meeting Jan. 10 at the Welcome recreation park on the west bank. She said the group would continue to consult with the SCPDC to overview the process and to establish the dates for future meetings into next year.