View, comment on new land use plan online

From staff and wire reports
May 20, 2011 at 11:50 am  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

After two years of information gathering and analysis, a complete draft of St. Charles Parish's new comprehensive land use plan will be made available for public viewing and comment.

The extensive document provides a vision for future growth and development of the parish over the next 20 years based on input from residents and stakeholders at 19 public meetings. A 32-member citizen-based steering committee has overseen the formulation of the plan, which strives to answer the basic question - “What should St. Charles Parish look like 20 years from now?” The plan is poised to guide policy decisions by parish government and other entities.


“I want to encourage all parish residents to have their voices heard by commenting on this plan,” Parish President V.J. St. Pierre Jr. said. “It represents a concrete way for residents to shape the future of their own community; while its success ultimately hinges on its responsiveness to the needs of the public.”


It addresses several different elements, such as economic development, land use, housing, community character, transportation, infrastructure and open space conservation; coordinating these elements to ensure that public funds are spent efficiently and effectively. The document includes an implementation section that outlines immediate, short-term, mid-term and long-term action items necessary to carry out the plan.


Chief among the concerns the plan attempts to answer are:


•Given moderate projected growth over the next 20 years, how should the parish protect its existing economic base, and how does it prevent the economy from stagnating?


•What does the parish need to do to attract the types of growth its citizens want, while enhancing the lives of current and future residents?


•How should these needs be balanced with the desire, expressed through the Vision Statement, to preserve a “small-town” way of life and character?


St. Charles Parish Planning and Zoning Director Kim Marousek-Marretta encouraged residents to pay special attention to areas that may interest them.


“Avid outdoorsmen should read what the plan has to say about recreational opportunities going forward, while working young adults might be more interested in parish growth and infrastructure,” she said. “Because the plan covers the parish was a whole, there's really something of interest for everyone.”


Steering Committee member John Campo said the planning process was worthwhile for its ability to bring together the opinions of so many.


“The process allows everyone to look into the future of this parish with their own vision and come away with a sense of excitement and anticipation for the next 20 years,” he said. “This document reflects the input of so many diverse participants and is worth looking at to see those thoughts and efforts come together.”


The St. Charles 2030 Comprehensive Land Use Plan will be available for viewing online at www.stcharlesparish-la.gov on May 19 by clicking on the link on the left side of the page. It will also be available for review at all branches of the St. Charles Parish Library after that date. Residents may submit comments and suggestions via the form on the parish website, by e-mail at mstein@stcharlesgov.net or in writing to the Planning and Zoning Department, P.O. Box 302, Hahnville, LA 70057. Chapters and sections will be bookmarked for easy navigation.


In addition, the St. Charles Parish Planning and Zoning Commission will hear public comment on the plan at its regular meeting at 7 p.m. June 2 at the St. Charles Parish Courthouse Council Chambers, located at 15045 River Road in Hahnville. The deadline to submit comments is June 2.


The St. Charles Parish Council will consider adoption of the plan at a future council meeting.


The parish's existing comprehensive plan was adopted in 1990. With partial funding from the Center for Planning Excellence, the steering committee recommended planning firm Wallace Roberts & Todd LLC to facilitate the St. Charles 2030 planning process.




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