Ask The Advocate: Mystery of the missing gate; storage building blues _lowres

Advocate staff photo by VICKI FERSTEL -- A portion of the sound wall at Stonegate Court along Old Hammond Highway in Baton Rouge is missing.

QUESTION: About 20 homes at Stonegate Court in Baton Rouge border Old Hammond Highway. When the Old Hammond widening project started, around 2004, our street was thankful the city decided to erect a sound wall, which also served the purpose of privacy, as our homes are actually feet from the traffic. It has now been two years, but one of the panels was taken out in a motor vehicle accident. I have called and written the city-parish many times to replace it. Having this missing is unsightly, dangerous and brings the down the property values in the area.

ANSWER: This took a bit of research by the folks at the city-parish Department of Public Works: Was the sound wall a city-parish project, a state project or is it something to be paid for by the homeowners?

Thomas A. Stephens, chief design and construction engineer with the Public Works and Planning Center, notes that the “concrete panel privacy fence” was installed as part of the state project to widen Old Hammond Highway from Airline Highway to Boulevard de Province.

“The fence was constructed as part of the project and is built well within the state right-of-way limits,” he says.

Stephens has contacted Ronnie Robinson, with the state Department of Transportation and Development, and has forwarded the information about the missing panel to DOTD district maintenance engineer Todd Donmyer.

Donmyer tells us that DOTD is “in the process of securing funding” to replace the missing concrete panel.

How much will that cost?

“A lot more than people think,” he said of the panel, which must be specially ordered.

Regulating temporary buildings

QUESTION: How long can a temporary storage building remain at a residential address? Are there any regulations on where it can be placed? If so, who enforces these regulations?

ANSWER: Carey Chauvin, interim director of the city-parish Department of Public Works, says:

“The provisions of the Unified Development Code as well as the adopted building codes apply regardless of the length of time a structure is in place. Chapters 9 and 11 of the UDC contain the requirements/restrictions for placement.”

Those regulations, he says, are enforced by the city-parish Department of Development, Permit & Inspection Division.

You can find the UDC online at

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Send your questions to Ask The Advocate, 10705 Rieger Road, Baton Rouge, LA 70810; or fax to Ask The Advocate, (225) 388-0371; or email