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EBR Metro Council opens discussions on potential moratoriums
BATON ROUGE - Wednesday night the EBR Metro Council began discussing what a pause on development could look like and if it's needed or in the cards for the city.
Though no such moratorium has been proposed, metro council members wanted to know whether one would even be legal, and what areas it could apply to. As those discussions took place, residents made sure to be a part of the conversation speaking up during public comment.
"What we must do now is halt all development in floodplains until the drainage is fixed," said one resident over Zoom.
“My son, his wife, and two children just did that a few weeks ago. They have never flooded before and never expected it. Now they are living in the nightmare that so many in our city are living in," another resident said.
But, also those against any moratorium made it clear it’s not the solution.
"We just got out of the one-year moratorium, a ridiculous one-year moratorium that destroyed homes and businesses, families and livelihoods,” said one business owner.
"We are here to fix infrastructure issues and advocate to the council and the administration that what we don't need is a moratorium. It will stop commerce and livelihood for business owners, employees and their families,” said someone with the Homeowners Association.
The issue was raised by Councilwoman Chauna Banks, after seeing many complaints coming her way from constituents affected by last month's storm.
"I think it was an opportunity for our residents to be able to explain where they are, what they have gone through and really show the necessity for us as a council to be open towards some type of moratorium,” said Banks.
Which is exactly what happened. The floor was open for discussion on the topic where council members shared their thoughts, asked questions and considered possibilities.
"If there is any place in this world a person should feel safe, that’s in their home and we here should make sure that our constituents' homes are safe to the best of our ability, to keep them safe from being flooded. Our responsibility is not to the developers," said Councilwoman Denise Amoroso.
While others were highly against it, reminding the detriment it could be to the economy and complexity of the issue.
"Families in our community are going to lose money, they are going to have a hard time paying that light bill, we don't get to put a moratorium on roofers' mortgages,” Councilman Dwight Hudson.
"At this moment right now I am not for a moratorium, so until we specifically define what exactly is going to happen and how it's going to affect city-parish,” said Councilman Aaron Moak.
Adding it's time to get boots on the ground and figure what they can do to fix the drainage issues.
The council also approved 20 million dollars in drainage projects around the parish Wednesday night. Those will start right away, with storm drain cleaning Thursday, near Jefferson highway and Chelsea Drive.
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