Judge temporarily halts construction of controversial housing development in Ascension Parish
UPDATE: A judge has has tossed out the case against Ascension Parish over the Jamestown Crossing development, allowing it to move forward as planned for the time being.
On Thursday, Judge Tess Stromberg threw out the case after determining that the plaintiffs did not live along Highway 930, where the neighborhood would be built.
Last week, a temporary restraining order was issued, preventing the Ascension Parish Council and the planning and zoning commission from proceeding with any votes, hearings, or progress on Jamestown Crossing I and II.
The three plaintiffs have three days to appeal the decision and say they plan to do so.
Check back for updates.
PRAIRIEVILLE - Residents in Ascension Parish are fighting back, and looking to take legal action against an approved housing development. An advocacy group says the roads cannot keep up.
The two-phase subdivision called Jamestown Crossing could consist of more than 160 homes. The proposed site sits along Highway 930. A road people say is already plagued with problems.
“It’s deplorable; it’s unsafe. Two trucks can't pass on it, and when I say trucks I mean regular house pick-up trucks,” said Jeff Pettit with Ascension Citizens Group.
The groups biggest concern though, is space. The two-lane highway, in parts, is narrow.
“I'm all for development, I'm all for economic growth, but we're in a place in the parish where infrastructure does not support such growth,” said Kim Christy with Ascension Citizens Group.
Parish code requires major subdivisions to be built on roads 18 feet wide.
“The planning department went out and measured it, and on average the road is less than 18 feet wide. But, there are parts where it’s greater than 18 feet wide,” said Planning Commission Chair Matthew Pryor.
Knowing this, Pryor says the commission had to decide how to interpret that law.
“Does that mean the whole roadway has to be wider than 18 feet? The average? Or if there are parts where it is 18 feet then it's acceptable?” he said.
There are other similar developments in the area that have already been approved, which Pryor says lead to the approval.
“To apply different standards to this development would be unfair and very arbitrary to the developer,” said Pryor.
Some feel that’s the problem.
“I had ducks flying in my pond, the wildlife was abundant,” said Michael Latiolais, who lives near the development site. “Here we are 13 years later and 12 neighborhoods more with 4 more in proposals, it’s over saturation.”
Ascension Citizens group told WBRZ they'll be filing litigation Tuesday against the Parish. The first will be a temporary restraining order to stop the project. Then they'll seek a permanent injunction until the infrastructure is up to code.
If the subdivision is built, the developer will have to widen the road in front of it.