How far should government intervention go?
It’s an age-old question that crops up just about every five minutes on social media, every ten minutes on television, and every day in government offices.
The answer is… complicated.
Why? For starters, folks continue to ask for more governmental control over certain things, and not realizing until it’s too late that those controls might affect them – maybe not now, but later.
Or perhaps right now.
Take subdivision restrictions, for instance. There was a meeting last Tuesday, Nov. 26 at Fire Protection District 5 in Denham Springs. Residents were concerned about a new subdivision that appeared Wednesday before the parish’s planning commission. The developer proposed nearly 70 homes for 22 acres, on 1/3 acre lots.
Drainage and traffic were discussed at the meeting, both of which require impact studies before the subdivision is clear for build. Attendees at the meeting were informed of the restrictions the parish council currently has on challenging residential development, but that zoning would help.
A notion that has become a very regular mention at the parish council meetings.
But when the idea that those restrictions could come back and affect those pushing for it, two camps emerge – those who ‘don’t care’ and those who suddenly back off the idea.
It doesn’t matter, however, because the ball is already moving toward more government control, at least over development and infrastructure, and there’s not much to do about stopping the movement.
Why? Because the more we understand about the way infrastructure works and how individual people affect it, the more we understand that we are all connected.
While this is more true in crowded areas which are now suburban, it still rings out in the rural areas as well. Take, for instance, Berry Ridge in the Springfield area – a new development that could possibly displace a lot of water and put dozens of new vehicles on one of Livingston Parish’s patented ’18-foot roads.’
Something more specific? How about two landowners in District 1, represented by Jeff Ard, who both sit on multi-acre lots. One landowner decides to put in a crushed gravel driveway over the ditch, with a culvert sized too small to move water during the large rainfalls that are now commonplace over the summer.
The result? Water backs up into the neighbor’s yard – even though they’re 100 yards away – and in some cases, gets near the house. That crushed gravel driveway and culvert has now affected the health, safety, and welfare of their neighbor.
Combine that with tighter restrictions on grant applications through both the state and federal government, as well as tighter restrictions on state and federal infrastructure projects with direct investment, and the parish of Livingston has cooked the perfect recipe for tighter restrictions.
It’s time to accept that Livingston Parish is in this together, and that includes roads, drainage, sewer, water, gas, even public works cleaning ditches – and if citizens are looking for better and more efficient provision of infrastructure, they’re going to have to accept tighter restrictions.