LAFAYETTE — City-Parish Councilman Jay Castille is proposing a requirement for asphalt roads in new rural subdivisions.
The proposed requirement, which would need the approval of the full council, comes as city-parish government is also eyeing stricter regulations on septic tanks outside the city limits.
“It’s like the wild West out there,” said Castille, referring to poorly planned rural subdivisions with sewage-filled ditches and deteriorating gravel roads.
At a council committee meeting on Wednesday, Castille asked the City-Parish Department of Planning, Zoning and Codes to craft new regulations that would require hard-surfaced roads for rural subdivisions of more than 15 lots.
“We’re trying to get rid of the limestone and gravel roads,” he said.
Castille, a developer who represents a portion of northern Lafayette Parish, said the biggest problem is rural subdivisions with private gravel roads that begin deteriorating because no one is maintaining them.
Government money generally cannot be used to maintain private property, and the responsibility falls on the residents who live along the road.
But many rural homeowners might not have been aware of that when they purchased property along a private road, Castille said.
“They want us to take care of their gravel road, and we can’t,” he said.
Castille said that the 15-lot standard should ensure that a new hard-surface road requirement does not affect a family dividing up a few lots for relatives.
Planning, Zoning and Codes Director Eleanor Bouy said there might be some opposition in the unincorporated areas of the parish, but the 15-lot minimum will likely be acceptable to most rural residents.
“We can’t keep operating like it’s 1950 anymore,” she said.
Castille’s proposal comes as the council is scheduled to vote this month on new regulations that would require rural subdivisions of more than 15 lots to have community sewer systems, rather than individual septic tanks for each home.
Under current laws, the only requirement is a state law that mandates a community sewer system for developments of 125 lots or more.