Developers who want to build in Zachary will soon be required to include bicycle paths in subdivisions under an ordinance the City Council passed on Tuesday.

The ordinance is aimed at improving routes for pedestrians and cyclists, especially those using the city’s new system of walking and bike trails.

“It’s definitely a step in the right direction,” said councilman Brandon Noel.

Under the new rules, bike paths in new subdivisions will have to tie in to any adjacent paths. Developers will have to build the trails in subdivisions even if they are located in an area without existing ones.

The ordinance, which passed unanimously, will go into effect next month.

Some minor changes may be made to the ordinance after a firm that is reviewing Zachary’s development code finishes its work and makes recommendations for updates, said city attorney John Hopewell. That review is expected to be complete by the first part of 2018, he said.

Developers may be able to get out of the bike path requirement if they're able to show it is an "undue burden," Hopewell said. But he added that will not be the case with most developments.

At the same meeting, the council accepted a "certificate of substantial completion" for the bike trials project, which was done by Industrial Enterprises.

Mayor David Amrhein said the city only had to put up about $38,000 for the paths because the city-parish provided about $750,000 for the project.

In another matter, the council voted to begin its process for removing a condemned house on Stewart Street in the Northside Extension Subdivision. Hopewell said the owner, Christine Brown, did not show at the meeting Tuesday despite city police having served her a notice to appear before the council.

“That property is in dilapidated, aged condition,” Hopewell said.

City building officials must now go inspect the property. Upon hearing those results, the council will be able to vote to tear down the house.

In other action, the council:

  • Voted to let the city apply for funds from the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness for engineering and land surveying services. Up to $1.6 million is available, Amrhein said.
  • Agreed to pay lowest bidder Coastal Bridge Company $734,775 for a new phase of ongoing repairs that are part of the city’s Road Rehab and Improvement Program.
  • Approved paying $747,872 to upgrade water lines near Truman and Roosevelt streets in the southern part of the city. The Grady Crawford Construction Company, the lowest bidder, will do the work. The project is being paid for with Louisiana Community Development Block Grant funds.
  • OK'd plans for new phases of construction in the Americana and Cedar Bend developments.
  • Changed a tract of land on Old Scenic Highway from the commercial suburban zoning classification to urban so developer Oscar Zeringue can build town homes there. Zeringue told the council he plans to build a retention pond as part of the development to help alleviate existing drainage issues in that area.