East Feliciana Parish has a number of challenges these days, but overdevelopment doesn’t seem to be one of them. According to parish resident Mary Jo Salmon, there’s only one traffic light in the whole of East Feliciana.

Even so, development planning can be a good thing for East Feliciana Parish, said Salmon, a planning coordinator for the East Feliciana Parish Economic Development District.

The parish is largely rural, and business development there has been relatively slow. But Salmon, speaking to a recent meeting of Advocate reporters and editors, said the parish’s natural beauty, distinctive heritage and large expanses of undeveloped land make it a promising area for future growth.

How much growth East Feliciana residents might want — and how that growth might be managed — are important policy questions for the people who call the parish home.

East Feliciana’s slow growth curve means that with the right foresight, the parish can avoid development challenges frustrating other parishes, such as Ascension and Livingston, that have mushroomed from rural areas to suburban enclaves in the span of a generation.

Salmon is among a number of officials who are trying to engage East Feliciana residents to offer their insights into the parish’s Moving Forward comprehensive plan.

“This process will result in a blueprint that will help guide the parish’s future for the next 20 years,” said Brent Soileau, project manager for the East Feliciana Parish Economic Development District.

“We anticipate this plan will allow the parish to be more proactive about how changes affect us as a whole. We are confident East Feliciana can embrace change while still retaining all the elements that make it unique,” she said.

Residents can offer their thoughts on East Feliciana’s master plan during two meetings this week.

The first gathering is Tuesday at the American Legion Hall at 12024 Liberty St. in Clinton.

The second meeting is Thursday at the Jackson Civic Center, 2084 Charter St., in Jackson.

Each meeting is at 6 p.m., with doors opening at 5:30. Refreshments will be provided for those attending.

Residents who want any other information about this week’s meetings or future meetings can call (225) 281-9084 or visit the planning initiative’s website, http://www.efpmovingforward.com.

We urge East Feliciana Parish residents to get involved in this important planning process.