Ascension Parish council adopts 9-month moratorium blocking new developments
ASCENSION PARISH - In an effort to address poor drainage issues and flooding in Ascension Parish, officials approved a nine-month development moratorium Thursday evening.
But after Ascension Parish council members announced this decision, the very leader who'd originally proposed a moratorium voiced his opposition to the council's decision.
Parish President Clint Cointment says the moratorium advanced by the council does not allow enough time to fully address Ascension's drainage issues. Cointment's original plan called for a 12-month ban on the construction of new homes and businesses in the Parish. But some council members, not on board with the year-long plan, took steps to shorten it to nine months.
During Thursday's meeting, the difference of opinion on the time span needed to resolve area drainage and flooding problems led to a few heated exchanges between local officials.
During the meeting, Cointment appeared grave as he addressed the room, saying, "Six months, nine months, it will be a failure. A failure. It will do nothing to help any one of you. Period."
Shortly after this, while addressing reporters, Cointment said, "It's going to be a failure. Listen to me, and watch what happens in nine months. You will see that it's a failure."
While in the midst of saying this to reporters, Coinment was approached by another Councilman who adamantly said, "Dig our ditches, dredge our canals! Please!"
Cointment, visibly upset, replied, "Get out of the way. Look, you've got plenty of time to sit up there, and chastise me, and complain about me."
The two went on to exchange heated words in a moment that reflected the desperation of the situation faced by area citizens, and the struggle leaders face in responding to the dilemma.
The meeting also included pleas from local residents, urging Parish leaders to do something to prevent further flooding.
One resident blamed local developers for the drainage and flooding problems, shouting as she addressed the council with the following words: "Y'all come in there and build, and build, and build, and build, and we flood, and flood, and flood, and flood! ...I'm tired of it, I'm tired of it!"
Another resident contrasted the outcome of Thursday's meeting in Ascension with a similar flooding-related challenge recently faced by Iberville Parish. The resident said she felt Iberville handled their issue more effectively.
"Iberville's Councilman are much smarter than the guys we got here, because they are working with their Parish President and granting them the twelve months. These represent builders, and they only want it for six months, and they've set unattainable goals, and it's not fair."
Ascension officials say their next step is to hire experts to review building codes and ordinances on recent developments.
After this, area leaders will host a series of parish-wide public input sessions.
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