Ordinance would make developers pay
Once a developer puts drainage, sewer lines, roads and light fixtures in a subdivision in St. Charles Parish, the builder of that subdivision has a year to guarantee the work. Now, an ordinance introduced by Councilman Paul Hogan is asking that Public Works officials and an engineer give those subdivisions a final inspection before the one year warranty expires.
“The developers are leaving before the improvements are inspected,” Hogan said at a recent council meeting. “Putting this ordinance in place will ensure that before the warranty expires that the subdivision has gotten one final inspection.”
The ordinance has already gotten the approval of the Planning and Zoning Commission. The next step is for Hogan to present the ordinance to the Parish Council.
“St. Charles Parish has a rule that if a developer builds a subdivision then his work must be under warranty for one year,” Hogan said. “But what happens after that year is up and the parish discovers something wasn't done right?”
Hogan said the parish is responsible and the developer is no longer liable.
Public Works Director Sam Scholle agreed with Hogan, but had concerns on who would pay for the additional inspection.
“We do an inspection as each phase of the subdivision is being built before the area is dedicated,” Scholle said. “I think one final inspection two weeks before the warranty is up is a good idea, but where is the money going to come from to pay for it?”
Scholle says using public workers to assist in the final inspections could take about six hours or a day, but he prefers that an engineer be hired to do the walk through with the workers. That's because the engineer who was assigned to assist in the development of the subdivision would be more familiar with the kinds of things to look for during this type of inspection.
Planning and Zoning administrator Earl Matherne also supports Hogan's ordinance.
“If problems like cracks in the road and other issues surface within a years time, that's telling me that something wasn't built right in the first place,” he said. “The final inspection needs to be done.”
The Planning and Zoning Board approved the measure five to one with Neal Clulee voting against the ordinance.
“It's a no brainier,” Hogan said. “The ordinance is designed to protect the residents and the liability of the parish. If something is not put in properly - like drainage - or other issues surface after that warranty expires then the parish is responsible and the developer gets to walk away.”
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