house work

Changes are coming with regard to development, specifically residential, in Livingston Parish. The Livingston Parish Council has begun the process of observing and determining rulesets for drainage requirements, fill dirt, zoning, even the number of entrances and exits to a subdivision.    

There’s a variety of responses to the matters at hand, including “about time,” “better late than never,” and “there should be no changes; this is a free state.”

The notion of “free state” has been covered in the fact that it is now obsolete for the majority of individuals on the western end of the parish.

The idea of a “free state” was tossed around to mean that, with little governmental interference and fanfare, any individual can do what he or she wishes with his land and property, provided that it doesn’t harm the enjoyments of those around him or her.

In many cases decades ago, that was stretched to include the Dr. Sam Hyde “had it coming” argument, but let’s focus on more modern practices, shall we?

Because, in today’s Livingston Parish, the idea that your property doesn’t affect another has been tossed out the window.

For instance, Parish Councilman Garry Talbert is pushing for limits on fill dirt for new homes. Why? Because the requirement to raise to certain flood levels applies to all new construction of homes, not just new subdivision developments.

What that means is, if you build a new home in an old neighborhood (perhaps you tore the old one down), your new home will now sit as much as four feet higher than your neighbor.

That’s a drainage nightmare, and very clearly affects your neighbor – although your builder was just following the rules.

How about the way your subdivision drains?

New rules were imposed on retention ponds to meet a higher standard of rainfall, but in some cases for older subdivisions – especially those that might be off-and-away from the main highways of the parish – they used a variety of pipe sizes to save money, which leads to poor drainage.

Or zoning, which reared its head in the most recent Buddy Ellis Road controversy, wherein the developer went above and beyond to make sure that he met the rulings of the council (some of which he didn’t have to) and, in order to avoid being sued, the council approved the new multifamily development for a road that is two decades past necessary upgrades.

The fact of the matter is this – injection into the development process for the well-populated areas of Livingston Parish is both past due, but better late than never.

Traffic, drainage, and road quality have all become issues that need a controlled and measured response, otherwise development will continue to outpace necessary infrastructure rules and improvements.

One wonders, however, if the parish will once again divvy up the responsibilities of development requirements among the different Parish Council districts – fiefdom style – or, if the councilmen will find some common ground so that some of the more rural areas won’t face the same issues, in the future, that Denham Springs, Watson, and Walker face now.

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