LIVINGSTON — A pair of ordinances meant to encourage better access in and out of new subdivisions were adopted by the Livingston Parish Council on Thursday night.

One ordinance requires new, large residential subdivisions to have more than one entrance, while the second ordinance encourages developers to connect their roads to those in neighboring developments.

Council members backing the ordinances said they will help disperse traffic from new developments and provide access in emergency situations, such as floods.

"We obviously can't stop the development, because we have no provisions to do that. So what we better do is utilize our infrastructure to the max until we are able to improve," said Watson-area council member Garry "Frog" Talbert.

The new rules drew opposition from two council members in the east end of the parish. Albany-area council member Shane Mack said people in small subdivisions may not want traffic from a new, larger subdivision coming through their area. 

"I like subdivisions with one way in, one way out, the smaller subdivisions," Mack said. "It's got restrictions, people keep their property up. It's really nice and beautiful. And I think that raises the property value." 

Walker-area council member Tracy Girlinghouse said the debate has to do with the divide between the less populated, east end of the parish, and the fast-growing western end.

"Shane and Tab (Lobell, of Springfield), they want development," Girlinghouse said after the meeting. "My area is not rural anymore, and we can't stay in that rural mentality."

Top stories in Baton Rouge in your inbox

Twice daily we'll send you the day's biggest headlines. Sign up today.

The first ordinance requires two entrances for subdivisions with more than 199 lots and three entrances for ones with more than 750 lots. New streets must be arranged such that those in new subdivisions could adjoin, meaning there needs to be an empty lot at the end of roads that could connect in the future. Plus, subdivision covenants cannot be written to discourage connection to adjacent property.

The ordinance passed 4-3 with council members Jeff Ard, Girlinghouse, Talbert and John Wascom voting in favor. Council members R.C. "Bubba" Harris, Mack and Lobell voted against. Council members Jeff Averett and Maurice "Scooter" Keen were absent.

The second ordinance requires developers of new subdivisions to present plans to the Parish Planning Commission about how they intend to connect to existing roads. This ordinance passed 5-2 with Ard, Girlinghouse, Harris, Talbert and Wascom voting in favor. Mack and Lobell voted against.

The new rules represent a break from the past, when parish ordinances discouraged connectivity between new neighborhoods and had no requirements for the number of entrances and exits.

The issue has arisen in recent months after a 300-lot subdivision proposed along Duff Road in Walker was planned to have just one entrance. 

Girlinghouse said Duff Road is "nasty, curvy and dangerous," and the issue drew ire from many residents at a recent Walker City Council meeting.

Also Thursday night, the Parish Council:

  • Adopted a resolution to request the state Legislative delegation to amend a law so a service fees could be charged within the boundaries of the Livingston Parish Mosquito Abatement District 2 and 3. Talbert said if the amendment, he would seek to ask voters to approve a fee for mosquito abatement within the district, which is in the Denham Springs-Watson area.
  • Introduced an ordinance allowing the parish to proceed with financing $9 million in Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act bonds. Parish officials have said they plan to use the money for a dredging project at the mouth of the Amite River.
  • Introduced an ordinance to purchase a 3.6-acre tract behind the parish Department of Public Works for additional parking. The cost is $12,000, said Parish Finance Director Jennifer Meyers.

Follow Caroline Grueskin on Twitter, @cgrueskin.