Over the continuing objections of nearby residents, the St. Tammany Parish Planning Commission gave preliminary approval at its December meeting to a new 14.5-acre, 49-lot subdivision on La. 22 and Penns Chapel Road east of Madisonville.

The planned unit development, formerly known as Houltonville Estates but renamed Hunter’s Haven at the same meeting, is being developed by Favret Investments LLC, of Covington, and has been opposed by its neighbors since it was first proposed more than 10 years ago.

As he had at prior meetings, Penns Chapel Lane resident John Robertson spoke against the proposal, saying the property is “subject to periodic inundation” and is unsuitable for residential development. Deborah Caraway, who lives on Penns Chapel Road, said the land is part of a bird sanctuary established in 1959 by a parish ordinance that might prohibit development. Other opponents argued that Penns Chapel Road cannot sustain additional traffic.

In rebuttal, attorney Paul Mayronne argued on behalf of the developers that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers had determined that none of the homesites are in wetlands, and that, with an average elevation of 6 feet or more, the property is no more subject to flooding than a number of other established subdivisions in similar parts of the parish.

Mayronne also said the development does not include the location Caraway described as a bird sanctuary and that the developers have the right to use Penns Chapel Road for access to the property because it is a public roadway.

After hearing both sides, commissioners approved the preliminary plans by an 8-1 vote, with Commissioner Todd Richard voting against the proposal. Commissioners Dave Mannella and Dave Doherty were absent.

Commissioners also unanimously approved Parcel D-3-B in Guste Island Estates. The parcel, known as The Oaks, includes 12 lots on 2.61 acres south of La. 22 and east of La. 1085, west of Madisonville.

Also approved unanimously were final plans for Phase 3A of Alexander Ridge, 28 lots on 9.59 acres on La. 1081 (Stafford Road), north of Covington and La. 437 (Lee Road). The development was originally part of the Terra Mariae planned unit development but was split off and renamed so the Terra Mariae senior age restriction could be lifted.

Earlier in the evening, commissioners postponed a request by owner-developer Mark Grimaldi for tentative approval of Lone Oak Park, Phase 2, which would add 80 sites to a mobile home park on Lone Oak Drive, west of U.S. 11 north of Slidell. The postponement was requested by St. Tammany Parish Councilmen T.J. Smith and Gene Bellisario so a community meeting can be held to try to resolve complaints from nearby residents.