Parish Councilman Tracy Girlinghouse - District 7

Parish Councilman Tracy Girlinghouse - District 7

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.

(1) comment


The Parish President and the those developers who are looking for the quick bucks had better wake up to reality, This ain't the Livingston Parish of 40 years ago...times they are a changin'..Young people moving here for a better education for their children...just like I did over 40 years ago, are finding that 1960's attitudes are still rampant in some areas of the parish. The East side does not need as much control as the West...Zoning restrictions on the East side do not have to be as complex as the ones on the West side where the vast majority of the TAX base of the parish resides. I believe that we have a consensus of councilmen from Districts 1 thru 6 that the need and the time for responsible zoning has come. It will not happen if the residents sit on the duffs and not make themselves heard. We need to start with parish wide ordinances that will monitor and control ALL phases of building including road specifications, traffic, school, sewerage, water, drainage and other infrastructure are put under a microscope and ordinances passed, and ENFORCED to bring this parish into the 21rst Century. if that means stepping on some developers, and long time landowners so be it. The Master Plan we paid half a million dollars for has, so far been languishing in a cabinet. The council did the right thing in appointing a committee to study the plan and recommend what parts should be implemented and what parts need more work or revision....Bottom line is L P is changing. The responsible developers will get on board and those that won't are going to be left behind or have to drag up and find another gravy train....It is HIGH TIME!

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