Developers who want to build new subdivisions in Zachary could soon have to meet additional open space requirements.
Under an ordinance introduced Tuesday by the City Council, only 20% of open space can be made up of wetlands, ponds and other areas where houses can’t be built, and only 10% of open space can be located along a subdivision’s perimeter.
The ordinance is the brainchild of Councilman Brandon Noel, who last week presented a rough draft of the rules at a Planning and Zoning Commission meeting, where it was favorably received. The council will consider whether to adopt the ordinance at a later meeting.
Noel said the proposal came about amid concerns about developers who “pay premium for a piece of land in the front and pennies on the dollar for wetlands in the back,” which are then counted toward open space requirements set forth in the development code.
“It’s not going to look like common space, it’s not going to feel like common space, and most residents are not going to realize it’s part of their subdivision,” Noel said.
Noel said he hopes the proposed ordinance, if adopted, would mean more green space throughout subdivisions and encourage developers to outfit those areas with amenities like playground equipment and walking trails.
Later in Tuesday's meeting, the council agreed to have the Grace Hebert Curtis architecture firm design a new station for the Zachary Police Department.
“This is by no stretch (an indication) that we’re going to build it,” Mayor David Amrhein cautioned. “This is a first step.”
Although the existing police station is the only municipal building in Zachary built for its current purpose, Amrhein said, the department has outgrown the facility as its ranks and the city’s population have both increased.
An architect needs to come up with a design so the city will know how much potential construction would cost and can start looking into ways to pay for it, Amrhein said.
The council also agreed to advertise for bids to build a new Zachary Fire Department station. The facility has already been designed and is to be located at 9366 Main St. across from Zachary Lumber.
Also on Tuesday, several members of an adult coed softball league asked that the city reconsider its decision earlier this year to ban their teams from the Zachary Youth Park. When he disbanded the league in March, Amrhein said players had repeatedly violated park polices on cigarette and alcohol usage.
“If there were some problems with the league last year, I think we can correct them,” said Larry Moss, who’s involved with the organization.
The mayor and council did not discuss or take any action on the matter at the meeting.