Don’t be surprised if you see a trend forming.
Last Thursday, parish councilman Tracy Girlinghouse presented a cooperative endeavor agreement with the City of Walker to force D.R. Horton to install a traffic light and turning lane at Duff Road and Burgess Avenue to handle extra traffic from their new subdivision, Foxglove’s 68 homes.
Well, kind of anyway.
Unfortunately, the traffic study signaled that only once the 68th home of the subdivision was built would the car count reach such a point that a traffic light and turning lane would be required. So, Girlinghouse could only restrict occupancy permits on the 68th home.
But, the message was there – the parish and council are paying attention to the relevant studies for new subdivisions, especially in major population areas. Duff, for example, currently sports at least three other subdivisions with upwards of 200 homes, each.
Normally, however, this is a situation reserved for the western side of the parish where the population continues to boom and new home sites are popping up in places where, if common sense reigned, they shouldn’t go for drainage reasons, traffic reasons, or utility reasons.
Sometimes all three.
Not 20 minutes later into the meeting, however, a similar situation popped up in District 8 – in the southeast corner of the parish.
A developer wanted to put over a hundred homes down on a large piece of property off of a small road – causing a pretty quick uproar from current District 9 Councilman Shane Mack. Mack was curious as to how the parish could stop this, to which Girlinghouse told him to “pass zoning” and “stricter subdivision ordinances.”
That’s the change in the wind, the paradigm shift that will open the door for tougher restrictions and requirements for home site development – now the rural areas are facing the same issues.
Livingston Parish’s inability to keep up with development has already shown it’s ugly head in the form of issued permits for sewer lines that just didn’t make any sense. Approval of an HoA handling ongoing maintenance of grinder pumps, when an HoA didn’t exist? Approval of those very pumps which were entirely too small for the homes they serviced?
And that’s just one inspected issue, for one subdivision, that came up recently. Take the current discussion in parish council district 6, where roads are falling apart and nearly gravel because of poor construction and inspection after completion – what could be done differently?
Tighter ordinances, heavier restrictions, and a better inspection process are a start. The first two changes would help service the third.
If Thursday night’s parish council meeting is any suggestion as to the future, it appears that door has opened for those changes to at least be discussed among the parish’s regulatory body because it is, now, a parish wide problem.
And, in the end, improper building methods affects drainage – and that’s too much of a hot button topic to be ignored.
J. McHugh David is editor and publisher of the Livingston Parish News.