Minor subdivision requests, in which small-property owners ask to divide their land into smaller pieces, regularly come before the St. Tammany Parish Planning Commission. The requests usually generate little, if any, opposition and are almost always approved with little discussion.
But that was not the case at the commission’s meeting on Tuesday, when Jared and Nicole Weiser asked to divide eight acres of family land on Stonehill Road north of Folsom into two four-acre sections, so that Nicole Weiser and her brother, Joseph Breaux, could each own a piece.
A half-dozen neighbors spoke in opposition to the request, saying that when they bought their land they were assured that parcels smaller than five acres would not be allowed. Commissioner Martha Cazaubon sided with the opponents and moved to deny the request.
During the ensuing discussion, parish land-use planner Cara Bartholomew reminded panel members that they had approved A-1A three-acre zoning for the parcel last year, and Commissioner Pug Lorren pointed out that several parcels within a stone’s throw of Weiser’s land were less than two acres in size.
When Cazaubon’s motion came to a vote, commissioners split down the middle, with five (Cazaubon, Barry Bagert, Jimmie Davis, Todd Richard and Bernie Willie) voting for the denial and five others (Dave Doherty, Kirk Drumm, Patrick Fitzmorris, Pug Lorren and Ronald Randolph) voting against it. The split vote meant that the motion failed.
Doherty then moved to approve the request, and that motion passed 6-4 when Davis switched sides and voted for the approval.
In the other major action, the commission quickly approved final plans for the St. Tammany Advanced Campus, a 55-acre portion of the 848-acre Tamanend planned unit development established by Weyerhaeuser Real Estate Development Co. on La. 434 north of Interstate 12.
Ownership of the campus land is divided among the state, the parish and the St. Tammany Parish school board, and it will eventually be the site of several large public facilities.
At the start of the meeting, commissioners elected Davis as chairman and Doherty as vice chairman of both the planning and zoning commissions for 2019. The two commissions are separate bodies, but are composed of the same people.
Commissioners also learned that Wendell Richardson has resigned from both panels for health reasons.