The St. Charles Parish Council tabled St. Charles Parish President Matthew Jewell’s proposed temporary moratorium on major subdivisions tonight, instead asking that it go before the parish’s Planning and Zoning Commission.
Despite the legal opinion from the parish attorney that all proper processes were maintained, Councilwoman for District II Mary K. Clulee initiated the vote to have the discussion moved to Planning and Zoning. Councilwoman for District VII Julia Fisher-Perrier and Councilwoman-At-Large for Division A Wendy Benedetto seconded.
Councilman for District IV Nicky Dufrene and Councilwoman-At-Large for Division B Holly Fonseca were not in favor of tabling the vote.
Councilwoman for District I La Sandra Darensbourg Gordon, Councilman for District III Dick Gibbs, Councilwoman for District V Marilyn B. Bellock and Councilman for District VI Bob Fisher all voted in favor to table the moratorium.
Several residents attended tonight’s meeting and pleaded their case for the passage of the moratorium.
“Recent flooding has made it clear that it is time for St. Charles Parish to have a systematic master plan that allows new homes to be developed in a way that does not hinder the quality of life for current residents and homeowners,” Jewell said after introducing the moratorium earlier this month. “For far too long, we have simply added new developments and put additional burden on existing infrastructure without improving the conveyance canals and culverts that deliver water to our pump stations.”
The proposed moratorium would be in effect for 18 months, or until the parish-wide drainage and sewerage master plans are complete.
“Temporarily halting the addition of new subdivisions will allow Public Works to develop a plan that takes the needs of the entire parish into account while also planning for future growth,” Jewell said.
During the duration of the moratorium, Jewell said the Department of Public Works would continue to work on projects that are in progress or have been designated as essential projects for sewerage and drainage improvements.
“We need to do things differently and take a holistic approach to solve these problems if we want to get better results, and I am asking for the council’s support on these initiatives,” Jewell said.