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Small development submitted under old ordinance questioned by Livingston Parish

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WATSON - The Livingston Parish Planning Commission is giving a small development proposed off of a dead-end street another look after it was sent back to them by the Livingston Parish Council. It was already approved by the Planning Commission with the old parish building rules, but now that new rules are adopted the parish council is questioning the development.

The small development is proposed at the end of Chandler Bluff Road off of Highway 1019 in Watson. People living nearby are furious about the plans and don't support the Planning Commission's approval. Wanda Bankston says the narrow street isn't designed to hold more traffic and more residents.

"The man with the tractor is getting tired of pulling vehicles out of the ditches," said Bankston.

In some places, the road is too narrow to accommodate two cars passing. Even the parish says it's bad - and they maintain it. Bankston says it's her concern because she lives there.

The proposal was first submitted to the Planning Commission before the parish ordinance changes, post-moratorium. It includes the combination of four properties into two and subdivides them into parcels. It could bring 14 new homes to the area. Bankston says it's not only putting more cars on the road, but there are flooding concerns and questions over adding more homes to the sewer system. She fears that the neighborhood's current issues haven't been addressed in the plans.

"Things would have to be accommodated for drainage," she said.

There is no zoning in Livingston Parish, but there are some subdivision regulations which a land owner must follow. The Planning Commission looked at the plans in July, saw that they met the subdivision regulations and approved the proposal. It was then sent to the council. Seeing neighborhood opposition, the council didn't vote and sent it back to the Planning Commission with the new building rules in tow. Parish attorney Chris Moody says it's a first.

"No one has ever challenged it before," said Moody.

Since the new development ordinances have been approved and adopted by the council, there is question now whether or not those new rules can be applied to developments already in the process of being approved.

Moody said state law says if a plan isn't approved or denied in writing within 60 days after it's submitted for review it is automatically approved. However, Livingston Parish ordinance says 10 days.

Moody offered his opinion in the matter and it will be presented at Wednesday's Planning Commission meeting. In that letter, Moody outlines a parish ordinance which requires the planning department's clerk to issue an approval or rejection letter within 10 days after a plat has been submitted for review. If the letter isn't sent, it could be considered automatically approved.

The developer, Anthony Feduccia says he followed the rules when he submitted his plans and if it's rejected under the new rules he will consider filing a lawsuit.

The parish's new planning ordinances could stop small developments like this one from happening.

The Planning Commission meeting starts at 5:30.

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