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A proposed ordinance to limit dirt fill on property would protect adjacent homes from flooding during heavy rain events. 

LIVINGSTON – Discussion will continue March 14 on the Livingston Parish Zoning Committee’s plan to limit the amount of fill dirt on residential lots.

Livingston Parish Councilman Garry “Frog” Talbert, who represents District 2, said he hopes to have a written ordinance for introduction to the full council for the March 28 meeting.

The plan would limit the amount of fill on a lot, unless the property owner provides results of an engineering study to prove it will not prove detrimental to adjacent lots.

The proposed ordinance would not affect subdivisions, provided they have already undergone a drainage impact study, Talbert said.

The ordinance could affect older subdivisions, however.

“If they’ve had elevation changes over the years, they’re going to have to stay within the guidelines on fill,” he said.

In theory, laws already on the books prohibit a homeowner from developing land in a way that would negatively impact their neighbors, Talbert said.

Prior to those laws, legal action was the only way a homeowner could get such a situation addressed, he said.

Talbert does not want to remove any property from commerce. The ordinance would only relegate to the type of fill and the slab.

The August 2016 flood has triggered the push in legislation geared toward improved flood protection, he said.

“It’s been almost three years, and we still have people struggling and trying to get back into their homes,” Talbert said.

At the previous meeting, former Ascension Parish President Tommy Martinez, who now serves as a spokesman for Sen. Bill Cassidy, said the current ordinance in his parish imposes a limit of three feet on lots three feet or less, but does not limit it on larger lots.

Under the Ascension ordinance, the determining criteria for land subject to the requirement covers lots under base-flood elevation, as determined by parish benchmarks, regardless if FEMA flood insurance maps list the property in a recognized flood zone.

For individual lots, the fill is limited to the foundation of the structure and not extend more than 24 inches beyond the limits of the foundation before it begins to slope.

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