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Moratorium talks continue in EBR

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BATON ROUGE - The Baton Rouge Metro Council will discuss the process to hold off on new construction projects in the Parish, but it will not directly decide on whether or not to implement a moratorium.

The Council has opted on leaving that decision in the hands of the Planning and Zoning Commission.

Earlier this week, despite calls for a moratorium on the construction of new residences due to flooding concerns, the panel approved the creation of new developments.

A number of residents are speaking out against the recently approved development plans, hoping to persuade officials to hold off on constriction efforts before they break ground on the new projects.

Wednesday's Metro Council Meeting, led by Councilwoman Chauna Banks, will shed light on the controversial issue and discuss how the city parish can revamp its drainage system so as to avoid flooding during heavy rainfall.

Banks, however, is not pushing for a Parish-wide ban.

Instead, she suggests officials give neighborhoods and subdivisions the option of requesting a temporary pause on new construction in their particular community.

Banks said that by allowing individual communities to make these decisions based on their area's needs, flood-prone regions would be protected while the city deals with underlying drainage issues.

Also to be discussed during Wednesday's meeting is the partially completed Storm Water Master Plan.

Residents are concerned that, even with the seemingly progressive talks, flooding will continue to be a problem in the Baton Rouge area.

One local citizen, Crystal Lewis, said, "These are long-term situations that we're going to have to deal with. Really, lifetime situations. And we want to make sure that whatever is put in place is something that can be maintained. And the water needs somewhere to go and we need the BR problems to be solved. Even if they have a good plan, we're concerned that if the Baton Rouge problems are what they are that it might still not help us."

The Metro Council Meeting begins at 4 p.m., Wednesday.

Should the $20 million dollar drainage project receive approval, the process will likely begin immediately.

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