Tara Lambeth named director of Planning & Zoning

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 1, 2022

LAPLACE — The St. John the Baptist Parish Planning and Zoning Department will have a new look with the hiring of Dr. Tara Lambeth.

The Parish Council approved Lambeth’s hiring as Planning and Zoning director during its regular meeting last week in LaPlace. Lambeth has spent the past year as the Coastal Water Management Division lead for the parish.

She has experience in grant writing and research and, in the past, has led efforts to incorporate community education into adaption planning and floodplain management. She earned a master of science degree in city and planning from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York, and a PhD in urban studies from the University of New Orleans.

Parish President Jaclyn Hotard said Lambeth is highly qualified, and she is excited about working with the new director.

Councilwoman Tammy Houston called Lambeth professional and knowledgeable as well as familiar with the duties and responsibilities she will be undertaking after having spent the past year working for the parish.

“You are well equipped, and I think you will be an asset to the parish,” Houston said.

In other action, the council approved an extension to the professional services agreement with the Center for Planning Excellence, Inc. to provide professional services for the audit of the parish’s Code of Ordinances. Peter Montz, parish director of Purchasing and Procurement, said the extension will add one year to the existing agreement to finalize the audit of the code and recommend amendments to remove barriers to growth, streamline permitting procedures and improve efficiency in code enforcement.

Montz pointed out the extension comes at no additional cost but said Hurricane Ida created delays for both the company and the parish because of relief efforts.

Houston noted that Planning and Zoning employees were forced to refocus in the aftermath of the storm to assist residents.

“(Planning and Zoning) was conducting damage assessment (during Ida’s aftermath), and now we’re in a better position to more forward until the audit is completed,” Hotard said.

Councilwoman Tyra Duhe-Griffin requested from administration the total amount of money the firm has been paid and was told that information will be available at the next meeting.

The council also approved an extension to add one year to an existing agreement with Tetra Tech, Inc. for disaster debris monitoring services. Tetra Tech monitors and tracks debris pickup from vendors in the parish, a responsibility required for FEMA reimbursements.

“We are still picking up debris, and Tetra Tech is still following the trucks,” Montz said.