Citizens want “Infrastructure First” at Land Use Plan meeting

The people of Ascension Parish are frustrated while important legislation, ordinances requiring actual investment in our infrastructure, don’t get off the drawing board,” added Joel Robert who has declared his candidacy for Council District 2.

Ascension’s Council authorized $1.6 million for three plans, one of which was the subject of an Open House at Gonzales Civic Center on Wednesday.  Center for Planning Excellence (CPEX) was tasked with producing an updated Master Land Use Plan, and is pocketing $450,000 to do so.  Last night’s event was billed as an opportunity for residents offer input that is supposed to be incorporated in the final product, a proposed plan that can only be enacted by the Council.

Two other “plans” are in the works; a Transportation Master Plan ($750,000) and a Floodplain Management Plan (somewhere north of $300,000) are both being performed by HNTB engineers.  The latter is finished but delayed by East Ascension Drainage Board’s chairman because a proposed courthouse would run afoul of its recommendations.

CPEX offered three scenarios…

all of which envisioned greater density for residential development; none of which included multi-family dwellings (apartments) included in CPEX prior presentations.  Which did nothing to allay the concerns of any resident who cared enough to attend Wednesday’s Open House.

We counted 90 comments, the overwhelming majority of which expressed the desire for infrastructure being built before any new development.

Missing was a comment favoring higher residential density; no one supported apartment complexes in CPEX’s mixed use corridors.

According to CPEX the “Current Trend” includes:

  • Continues existing development pattern
  • Commercial along Airline Highway
  • Industrial on the East Bank of the Mississippi River
  • Predominantly single family residential subdivisions throughout
  • Some residential and limited industrial on the West Bank of the Mississippi River

“CPEX hasn’t uncovered anything new,” said Clint Cointment whose attire sent a message of its own.  “I hope they are listening to the peoples’ crystal clear message.”

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