LIVINGSTON – Master Plan Review Committee Chairman Gerald Burns will appear before the Livingston Parish Council at its Sept. 26 meeting to improve communications and “seek directions” from the council.

That decision came out of an address by Parish Council Chairman Shane Mack to the Master Plan panel at its meeting on Tuesday.

Mack told the committee that he had already talked to Burns and if the Parish Council agreed, “Mr. Burns could come once a month and give us an update … what we need to work on or where we are at.”

“We don’t get a penny for doing this. We love this parish,” Burns said.

“I don’t think we were given direction by the council about what was most important thing,” in the Master Plan for the committee to review, he said.

Other members of the Master Plan panel said knowing what the Parish Council wants is important.  

“My concern is having the complete council backing,” said Larry O’Neill, a committee member. “We can work our tails off for a year to two years and if the council doesn’t back us, we’re wasting our time."

Committee member Kayla Lockhart Johnson added the Master Plan Review Committee should continue, but its focus should be “on the council level first.”

“What do you want us to work on. What is the priority? Zoning? Gravity drainage?” she asked Mack.

“The council decides what the priority is, then you bring it to us, and we work through the logistics. How much money will it take to do those things,” Johnson said.

Burns said the original estimate to update the Master Plan was $250,000, but if engineers and other professionals are needed, the cost could go up.

“The things we are asking you to do is big,” said Mack, an Albany resident who represents council District 9. “It’s a big task for you to accomplish.”

“I support the continuation of this group right here, because I believe you are all highly intelligent enough to provide input that the council can use to make those difficult decisions,” he said.

“I will talk with the parish president and his administration and get some of them to come in. They work day in and day out with construction and the development of Livingston Parish.

“We will try to help this group come up with good ideas to help update this Master Plan.”

Mack said he was not opposed to “doing what we can to follow the current, existing Master Plan, but I think major modifications need to be made," he said.

“And that’s y’alls purpose."

Mack said he sees three major areas of focus: zoning, a master gravity drainage plan, and the growth of sewer services.

“Now, maybe we need to narrow the scope to zoning,” he said.

The council did not budget any funding to revise the Master Plan approved in 2013, he said.

With four months left in the year, Mack said the committee should continue to meet and discuss what it will take to zone Livingston Parish properly.

“You may decide to do some of your own research. You may decide you need those funds to update that part of the Master Plan,” he said.

“It is drastically important to take the amount of time needed to get this right,” Mack added.

“We need to come up with a good plan and what we think is important and how much money to revise that part of the plan. Then we’ll go budget for the money.”

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