LAPLACE – St. John the Baptist Parish officials and representatives from the University of New Orleans Division of Planning invited the public to share their thoughts on future development in a series of meetings throughout the parish.
Similar to the “One Parish, One Future: Building Back Better and Stronger” initiative, the Comprehensive Land Use Project is designed to identify future land use patterns that will promote safe, sustainable and appealing development. Phase IV of the Land Use Plan and the Resiliency Project are both funded with Block Grants through the Louisiana Office of Community Development.
Residents were able to view enlarged slides of the plan and write questions or comments down for consideration after listening to a short presentation. Meetings took place last week in Edgard and Reserve. Meetings were held on Monday and Tuesday in LaPlace and Garyville.
The draft plan, which was developed based on public input collected during a round of public meetings last year and analysis of demographic and development conditions pre-and post-Hurricane Isaac, addresses current and future land use, transportation, hazard mitigation, housing, historic preservation and resiliency. The agencies have pinpointed a number of issues facing the parish, such as limited transportation options, limited internal evacuation processes, a population decline and low projected growth, lack of housing options and need for increasing economic development activities. The more obvious issues listed were flooding vulnerabilities, lack of federal hurricane protection and vulnerabilities to the local water supply and water quality.
“We’re trying to get citizen input on the recommendations that we’re making in this plan. We had a lot of people show up during the first round last year, and we’ve incorporated a lot of those comments and a lot of the comments from the FEMA process, with the Citizen’s Advisory Committee. This is a chance to look and make sure we got everything that they wanted us to include,” said Tim Jackson, a senior research associate of the University of New Orleans Division of Planning.
Notably, the agencies predict that residential areas will eventually cut into unused and agricultural lands in Reserve, between the Mississippi River and Airline Highway, in the future.