ST. FRANCISVILLE — The West Feliciana Parish Council put off a vote Monday on setting an end date to its current moratorium on major subdivision developments in the parish.
The council held a public hearing on the ordinance proposed by Councilman Melvin Young to end the moratorium on March 31, but Council President John C. Thompson said Young was ill and asked to defer action until the council’s January meeting.
The council approved the moratorium on Aug. 26 to halt major subdivision developments until the parish can update its ordinances to control the growth of residential developments.
Parish President Kenny Havard later addressed the moratorium in his monthly report to the council, saying he and a member of his staff are working on a proposal to submit to the council before it goes to the parish Planning and Zoning Commission.
Havard said he had been gathering information from other parishes to “look at their mistakes.”
He called the changes to subdivision and zoning ordinances “one of the most important things the council and I will be doing.”
“It’s the future of West Feliciana Parish,” he said.
During the public hearing, the council clerk read two written statements from the public, both calling for extending the moratorium.
Havard said Tuesday that the developers of a proposed subdivision off Commerce Street in St. Francisville filed a lawsuit about a week earlier over the moratorium, but their attorney did not request to speak during the hearing on Young’s proposal.
He said his office is preparing an answer to the suit and preparing documents requested by attorneys for the developers.
“I really can’t say much about it,” he said.
The council also deferred action on Young’s request to issue a letter of support for efforts by George Turner and Lula London to seek federal funds for building “affordable housing” in the parish.
In other action, the council set a 5:30 p.m. Jan. 11 public hearing on an ordinance to grant Entergy Corp. a right of way on a corner of the parish’s industrial park and an ordinance to issue $4.5 million in bonds for a road construction program.
Havard said the bonds would be repaid with income from a half-cent sales tax that voters agreed last year could be transferred from the parish hospital district to the parish road and bridge fund.
Before the coronavirus pandemic set in, the tax had been generating about $40,000 per month. The aim of the bond program is to generate enough money to do a number of road improvement projects at once, rather than a few at a time as the sales tax revenues accumulate.
The council also adopted member Clay Pinson’s resolution directing boards and commissions under the parish’s jurisdiction to submit annual reports to the council.