Temporarily stricter development restrictions leave room for planning commission to allow some flood-zone projects
BATON ROUGE - Tougher drainage requirements for development in flood zones take effect Saturday, but do not apply to several residential projects being considered Monday by the Planning Commission.
In a unanimous vote Sept. 8, the Metro Council approved a year-long tightening of building standards for projects in flood zones. Any project filed before Sept. 1 is exempt from what proponents have labeled a moratorium.
Councilman Rowdy Gaudet, who represents District Three, says the engineer handling one of the projects told him it will be built to the stricter standard even though it's technically exempt. Maple Cove is an 11-acre, 60-home development on Burbank Drive.
"He recognized the sense of the community was 'we need changes, we need those increased design requirements,'" Gaudet said. "He recognized that a unanimous vote of the council is a message that it's time to start looking at doing things a bit differently."
All items on the Sept. 20 agenda have satisfied the needed criteria, according to planning commission staff.
"From a policy perspective, as a Metro Council, we've got to be cognizant of, do we change our policy for development going forward," Gaudet said. "We shouldn't put an onus on the planning commission to halt development. That's a policy-level decision. That's frankly what the metro council and your local government representatives should be doing."