CLINTON — A special committee rewriting East Feliciana Parish’s subdivision ordinance voted Tuesday to recommend restricting the Planning Commission’s authority to review five of nine types of land divisions that are exempt from the regulations.
The parish’s Planning and Zoning Commission has been requiring all subdivision requests to come before the panel, but surveyors Jeff and Skip Moody have argued the ordinance does not say the commission gets to review subdivisions that are exempt.
Commission Chairman Richard Howell argues state law gives his body authority to review all plats, regardless of the parish ordinance’s language. Howell dissented Tuesday on the committee’s recommendation.
Only a few large-scale subdivisions requiring expensive infrastructure improvements, such as streets and sewerage, have been built in the parish in recent years.
Most residential development has been done at less expense by cutting out housing sites from larger tracts without creating enough lots to trigger what the committee calls “full-blown regulations.”
The result is small subdivisions, either fronting on public roads or accessible by private servitudes the Police Jury has said it will not maintain.
The ordinance says no more than four lots accessible by a private servitude may be created and further restricts a person or company to developing only one such four-lot subdivision anywhere in the parish.
The “one per lifetime” provision was inserted because a company was creating numerous four-lot subdivisions in the 1980s to get around building subdivisions to parish construction standards.
Assessor Jeff Gardner said some restrictions are hindering growth and costing the parish tax revenue because developers will go to less-restrictive parishes.
If more than four lots are allowed on private roads, the standards should be higher “so we don’t create goat trails,” Jeff Moody said.
The committee finally voted to recommend the jury allow four lots accessible by a private servitude if it is at least 30 feet wide or five or more lots of 3 acres or larger accessible by servitudes 60 feet wide.
The panel also recommends dropping the “once per lifetime” provision for subdivisions on private servitudes.
The panel voted against requiring Planning Commission review for five subdivisions exempt from the regulations:
Those created before Aug. 4, 1986, the date the Police Jury adopted its first subdivision ordinance.
Fifty acres or more to be used for orchards, forestry or raising crops or livestock.
Exchanges of property between adjoining land owners where no additional lots are created or a boundary line is established.
Property donations between relatives.
A transfer to land title by inheritance.
If the recommendations are accepted, the Planning Commission would review property partitions among co-owners, the creations of two or more lots of specific sizes on public roads, subdivisions where the owner wants the roads closed to the public and the amended requirements for subdivisions on private servitudes.
Police Jury approval of all of the nine exceptions would be required, the committee decided.