Rykert Toledano

St. Tammany Parish Councilman Rykert Toledano

The St. Tammany Parish Council was busy at its March 14 meeting, introducing ordinances amending parish zoning regulations, imposing a six-month moratorium on commercial development on or near Brewster Road, and authorizing the sale of $30 million of parish sales tax bonds.

The council also adopted an ordinance that levies fines for repeated false fire alarms, and upheld two denials by the St. Tammany Parish Zoning and Planning Commissions.

The council introduced an amendment to the parish Unified Development Code that requires additional notification of surrounding property owners on all rezoning requests. The owners of property within 300 feet will receive notifications by mail, and “door hanger” notices will be placed on all property within 100 feet.

The ordinance was drafted at the request of District 5 Councilman Rykert Toledano in response to complaints he has received from property owners saying they were not adequately informed about upcoming zoning cases.

Also introduced was an amendment to the UDC that defines Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRC) and specifies the types of activities in which they can engage. That amendment was introduced at the request of CCRC operators to ensure that their activities are specifically permitted by parish regulations.

The moratorium on resubdivision, rezoning or permitting for commercial purposes applies to all property fronting on or having access to Brewster Road, which runs south of Interstate 12 near Covington. Brewster has traditionally been zoned for residential uses, but has seen pressure for commercial development in recent years.

The council also introduced several ordinances authorizing Parish President Pat Brister’s plan to issue $30 million of sales tax bonds to fund roadway improvements throughout the parish. Brister says the bond issue will make money available immediately rather than waiting for it to come in as sales taxes are collected.

A new law will require all users of fire alarm systems to properly maintain the systems to minimize false alarms. It also imposes fines if a more than three false alarms are received from a system within a calendar year. The fine would be $250 each for the fourth and fifth false alarms, and $500 for each false alarm afterward. Individual fire districts will be expected to adopt and enforce the regulations.

The council upheld the parish zoning commission’s denial of a request by the Millennium Group to rezone 6.873 acres west of Harbor View Court, south of Slidell, from A-6 Multiple Family Residential District to Planned Unit Development Overlay. Millennium said they wanted to operate the property as a boat service facility, but the zoning commission had decided to leave in place the multifamily zoning adopted during the comprehensive rezoning of the parish that was completed in 2009.

Also upheld was the parish planning commission’s denial of a request by the developer of Wingfield Subdivision to waive the requirement for the installation of a fire hydrant on Joyner-Wymer Road northwest of Covington.

The developer claimed there was not enough room in the right of way to access the hydrant, but representatives of Fire District 13 said that it was needed to provide adequate fire protection for the neighborhood.