A MITE — The Tangipahoa Parish Council will be looking at the parish’s subdivision regulations with an eye toward revisions that could take effects on schools and availability of water supplies into consideration.
Council President David Vial said he will appoint a committee of council members to review existing regulations — an action that came after the council granted a lot size variance to a firm planning a 600-unit subdivision east of Ponchatoula in the Bedico area.
Developers of the Landings Reserve Subdivision were given permission to build houses on lots with a 60-foot frontage. Current subdivision regulations require a minimum of an 80-foot frontage on subdivision lots.
Landings Reserve, located at U.S. 22 and La. 445, is being developed by the D.R. Horton Co., a nationwide subdivision construction company. Adam Kurtz, a land manager for the development company, said construction on the site should begin in about four months.
At the council’s last meeting, Parish Planner Alyson LaPuma presented the Landings Reserve plan to the council with the request for the variance. LaPuma explained that if the company had followed the council’s lot size regulations, up to 800 homes could have been placed on the 288-acre parcel.
However, LaPuma added, the development company has adopted a plan that will allow for more than 100 acres of “green space” and will include several lakes.
Nathan Sticker, chief of the 8th Ward Fire Department, told the council that he is concerned about the potential lack of sufficient water to fight a fire should one occur in a neighborhood with houses placed closely together. The area is served by a rural water system, and Sticker said the Fire Department should have been consulted about the development.
LaPuma told the council that a water tower is located in the general area and that, if necessary, firefighters could draw water from the lakes that will be included in the development.
Councilman Louis Joseph, a retired educator and one-time superintendent of the Tangipahoa Parish School System, said he had heard concerns about the impact such a large subdivision could have on the school system. “These are things that should be considered when we approve developments,” Joseph said.
Councilman Carlo Bruno said he, too, had concerns about granting variances and that approval of Landings Reserve “will open the door to more requests for variances. … We need to take the time to look at our subdivision regulations and bring them up to date with what is being developed today.” Bruno added, “People want to live here … and they are going to keep on building, so we need to make some changes to our regulations.”
Vial pointed out that under current regulations, issues such as a sufficient water supply and effect on schools are not addressed.
Only Councilman Bobby Cortez voted against granting the variance. Councilman Ronnie Bankston was not at the meeting.
In another matter, the council removed from its agenda a final vote on whether or not to submit a proposal to parish voters regarding limiting council members and the parish president to two consecutive four-year terms. Vial said Councilman Bankston was in the hospital with an injured hand and that he had requested a decision on the term-limit matter be postponed so he could vote on the measure.
At its last meeting, the council had introduced and set for public hearing the term-limit measure, which, if passed, would go to the voters in elections set for Oct. 24.