St. Rose residents lose Round 2 in development

Signs posted in the Smith’s yard opposing the construction of townhomes in their community in St. Rose.

St. Rose residents lost Round 2 of their fight with a pair developers seeking a waiver to put three single-family homes on a lot in their neighborhood.

After a lengthy discussion where residents lined up to oppose developers Kenneth and Diandray Martin Jr. putting three single-family houses on a lot on Riverview Drive, the council approved the move at Monday’s meeting. Council members Paul Hogan, Wendy Benedetto and Mary Clulee voted against granting the waiver, although it had been recommended by the parish’s Planning Commission.

In August, residents successfully opposed the Martins’ proposal to put four townhouses on the property. The council unanimously rejected the permit request.

With this latest proposed project, St. Rose residents told the council three houses were not a good fit for their neighborhood, particularly raising concerns on contributing to flooding problems, drainage issues and traffic safety concerns. They also questioned the waiver allowing the project to take up 11-1/2 feet of a 20-foot setback.

Councilwoman Marilyn Bellock, who voted with her neighbors in August and represents the area, this time disputed the issues they raised about the houses.

“I don’t see a problem with the Martins wanting to build three houses on the lot,” Bellock said. “I support this.”

Resident Vicki Smith said they didn’t opposed the houses, just that there were three of them.

“We want him to build, but stay within his restrictions,” Smith said.

Fellow residents agreed they were grateful for houses being built there, but disagreed with putting so many on a single lot.

Resident Louanna Rounds said putting three more driveways would worsen traffic problems.

“I almost got hit last week – head on,” Rounds said. “You put three more driveways … somebody’s going to die.”

Diandray Martin told the council they considered residents’ concerns and went with houses, which “complies overwhelmingly.” Diandray maintained they have “ample space from the property to River Road.”

She told the council she would work with the parish’s Planning and Zoning Department to resolve drainage concerns. How it would be done, however, had not been determined since the project was in the preliminary stage.

Planning Director Michael Albert said a drainage analysis would have to be performed, but it’s typically handled by the developer in major subdivisions. Public Works Director Clayton “Snookie” Faucheux agreed an analysis would be needed.

Hogan said he agreed with residents on the parish needing to enforce its own rules, which included putting three houses on a lot suitable for two that would not require the waiver.


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