Won't you be my neighbor?
Parish committee juggles smaller lots ordinance
By Heather R. Breaux -
Aug 10, 2006
The parish's Special Projects Committee met on Aug. 2 at the council chambers in Hahnville to continue discussion on an ordinance that, if approved, would allow for the development of patio homes in St. Charles Parish.
According to the parish's Department of Planning and Zoning, the construction of this type of single-family housing would help solve many issues for young couples and retirees.
"We have consulted with other parishes in the state who have these developments, and they seem to fit well into the community for people who don't want a lot of yard maintenance or couples without children," said parish Planning Director Mike Henderson.
What the planning department proposes is a new zoning classification of RP1, which would allow up to nine homes per acre per 40-foot-wide lot, or RP1-A, which would provide enough space for as many as 12 structures per acre on a 30-foot-wide lot.
Both classifications would require that 15 percent of the property be allotted for green space, and possibly, the homeowners would be required to maintain membership in a homeowners association.
If approved, these developments would allow for developers and builders to construct more housing on smaller lots, however, that is a major concern for Councilman Clayton "Snookie" Faucheux.
Faucheux is worried that the new zoning classifications would create an up-rise in the building of modular homes and Section 8 housing.
Henderson reminded the committee members that the parish council has enough control over zoning to specify where these homes would be built.
Parish planner, Steve Romano, who drafted the ordinance, indicated to the committee that the council would have final approval for all development sites.
"Anyone who wants to build a patio home development must first go to the planning and zoning department for an application. Then they must go before the committee for recommendation, and the final step is to appear before the parish council for approval," explained Romano.
It appears that the principle voices of concern regarding the construction of patio homes are coming from parish firemen.
The president of the St. Charles Fireman's Association, Larry Cochran, believes that the density of these new developments will create more problems for area fire departments, and the firemen should be consulted before a final decision is made.
"It might be a good idea to talk to the chiefs and get some of their input," said Cochran.
The ordinance was originally brought before the parish council by parish President Albert Laque's administration in an effort to create an additional zoning classification that would allow homes to be built on smaller lots.
An amendment was then sent to the Special Projects Committee in an effort to fine tune the proposal, with hopes, that an amended version of the ordinance can be returned to the council for consideration.
The committee was unable to deliver an amended version back to the council for approval because it lacked a quorum.
Committee members in attendance were Lance Marino, "Ram" Ramchandran, Dickie Duhe, Derryl Walls and Clayton "Snookie" Faucheux.