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Livingston Parish residents packed the council chambers Thursday, Jan. 10, 2019, to protest a multi-family complex, Starwood Knoll, proposed south of Walker.

LIVINGSTON — A new nine-member committee will begin reviewing the parish's comprehensive master plan with an eye toward creating a zoning regulations.

The Livingston Parish Council agreed Thursday evening to create the body and appointed members. It has not yet been decided when and where the committee will meet.

The Master Plan Review Committee is charged with reviewing a parish-wide master plan written several years ago but never implemented.

"Basically review the whole thing, see what's pertinent, what's not, what needs to be changed," said Walker-area council member Tracy Girlinghouse, who has spearheaded the effort.

The committee is expected to present its conclusions to the parish council.

The master plan calls for the parish to implement zoning regulations along Interstate 12. Local steering committees would take the lead on zoning elsewhere in the parish.

The parish currently has no zoning regulations, a fact Girlinghouse and other council members have blamed for planning-related controversies over the past three years. Among them was a gravel mine and a shooting range that each wanted to locate near residential neighborhoods. Parish council members said they lacked the ability to oppose those developments because they met the existing law. 

The shooting range concept was withdrawn by the developer after residents opposed it.

The master plan also suggests improvements to roads, sewer and water infrastructure.

The committee was originally just to have five members. But nearly all of the council members wanted to be represented on what is expected to be a controversial issue.

Large landowners have historically opposed zoning because they do not want the parish to regulate how they can develop their land. Council members from the eastern side of the parish have recently expressed opposition to restrictions in their areas.

Parish President Layton Ricks and all of the council members made appointments to the board, except for Watson-area council member Garry "Frog" Talbert. 

Talbert, who favors zoning, said in an interview that he did not want to add more members and felt he could contribute through attending the meetings and through others' appointees.

The committee members are Dominick Abrams, council member Jeff Ard, Planning Commission member Gerald Burns, Kay Keen, Kayla Lockhart Johnson, Albany Mayor Eileen Bates-McCarroll, Larry O'Neill, Jeb Sadler and council member John Wascom.


Follow Caroline Grueskin on Twitter, @cgrueskin.