First land-use public hearing held

Published 12:00 am Saturday, March 22, 2014

By Monique Roth
L’Observateur

LAPLACE – A public hearing was held Wednesday night for the St. James Parish government’s proposed land use plan.

The proposed plan includes a generalized future land use plan to guide the future development of St. James Parish and will be considered for adoption as a “master plan” in accordance with Louisiana Revised Statutes 33:101, et seq.

The March 19 hearing and a future hearing in April are being held in conjunction with public information meetings related to a proposed ordinance to implement the future land use plan component of the comprehensive plan.

Proposed Ordinance 14-03 states its intention is “to adopt a land use plan and to regulate development in accordance with that plan.” How future development will be regulated remains unclear. The council will vote on the ordinance following the second public hearing.

The land use plan divides the parish into categories, including residential/future industrial, residential growth, commercial, commercial/residential mixed, industrial, agricultural, recreation, schools, fire department, water and wetlands.

Two other categories, Lutcher and Gramercy, are shown for informational uses only because they are each governed by their own ordinances.

Chairman Gerald Falgoust of St. James Parish’s Coastal Zone Management Committee said at the hearing that “a lot of work over many years has gone into this plan.”

Falgoust said the plan will be another tool his committee will be able to use to make better decisions about land use.

On Wednesday night, half a dozen residents went on record before the St. James Council as being in favor of the proposed plan.

District 2 Councilman Jason Amato said the plan will attract industry, protect residents and move St. James Parish into a secure and prosperous future.

The next, and last, public hearing on the plan will be held Wednesday, April 2 at 6 p.m. at the St. James Parish Courthouse Council Chamber, 5800 River Road in Convent.