YOUNGSVILLE — Bracing for a continued influx of residents and businesses, Youngsville officials Tuesday unveiled a 10-year master plan that lays out a strategy for smart growth and provides a timeline and funding source for improved roads and good drainage.
Mayor Ken Ritter said the master plan is a document that will be adopted by the Youngsville City Council early next year to help guide the former bedroom community, whose population has grown over 450 percent since 1990 and is expected to double again by 2023.
“This is a plan that’s not going to lead to another plan,” Ritter said before the town hall meeting with about 150 residents began Tuesday night at Green T. Lindon Elementary School. “This is going to get things done.”
The plan, in the works for the past 10 months, runs 555 pages and prioritizes projects based on need and funding. The first 160 pages or so contain the meat of the study, including a list of projects, their costs and a timeline for the projected completion date.
It also recommends providing workshops for developers, contractors and business owners on how to apply for building permits and strongly enforcing the city’s erosion and sediment runoff regulations when developers do not comply with the rules.
The document identifies tens of millions of dollars in road and drainage improvements officials want done by 2024. It also notes that if funds were not available, the timetable for projects could be extended five to 10 years beyond the master plan’s 10 years.
The road projects include widening Chemin Metairie Parkway for around $7 million in the coming years, and $1.5 million to improve the Chemin Metairie-South Larriviere Road intersection, near where a new high school is planned.
Drainage projects, a big issue with some Youngsville homeowners and businessowners, also are laid out.
Dr. Gary Granger, the optometrist who owns Granger’s Eye Studio, lives near Fortune Road in Youngsville. In early 2014, heavy rains caused the water to rise in the La Villa Circle subdivision, where he lives.
“We had some drainage issues. … I was scared to death,” Granger said. “Water needs to go someplace else besides your house.”
City Engineer Pamela Granger told the audience Tuesday that in compiling information for the plan, she and her team rode over every inch of the city’s 77 miles of roads to assess their condition. And they hurried to gauge drainage at problem flooding areas when the rain fell hard.
Ritter said the master plan is the city’s first such plan, even though Youngsville has for years had the fastest-growing, or among the two fastest-growing, population in Louisiana. The number of Youngsville’s residents, mostly white and high-wage earners, is expected to grow from 13,000 to around 26,000 or more by 2023.
Some of Youngsville’s residents, 483 of them, helped craft the master plan by participating in a survey. The answers were clarifying to officials: For instance, almost 54 percent were dissatisfied with the condition of the roads, and one-third were dissatisfied with how well they thought the city had planned for growth.
The survey also shows residents rank protection from crime as a top priority, which the master plan addresses by suggesting hiring four additional officers and adding three police squad cars each year as the city grows. It also recommends building a fire substation and hiring more firefighters for round-the-clock protection.