Automated permit process approved by levee board

Members of the St. Mary Levee District agreed Thursday to take part in the use of an automated permit process.

Billy Wall of the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority told commissioners that the system being developed would streamline and speed up the permit process as well as result in a cost savings to the district by reducing manual paper work.

Instead of submitting permit applications to three separate agencies – CPRA, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the levee district – anyone doing work within 1,500 feet of a levee system would be able to submit documentation online.

“It’s going to generate your permit electronically after you get the letters of no objection from CPRA and the Corps of Engineers,” Wall said.

He added that the system would also provide a historic database of all permits.

The St. Mary district will be able to include specific conditions into the process, he said.

Also, permit applications will be assigned a number of record making it easier to trace the application through the process.

District Chief Executive Officer Hilary Thibodeaux said he thinks the system will be an asset.

“It should make (the permitting process) flow a lot better,” said district President Bill Hidalgo.

The district agreed to a one-time fee of up to $2,400 for development of the system. Participation by more than 50 percent of the other levee districts in the state will lower the cost, Wall said. Maintenance costs will be built into applications fees.

In other discussions Thursday the district heard that the geo-tech report on the Hanson Canal and Yellow Bayou projects is nearing completion; the topographical survey on the Charenton Canal project has just been completed; the bid process on the Franklin Canal project is on schedule to begin in May; and the permit application on the Bayou Chene project has been submitted.

On the latter, Thibodeaux said he has received three responses to date from the request for qualifications for engineering services on the Chene closure project. He told the board that he will make recommendations at the next meeting in February.

Elsewhere, the district agreed to enter a lease agreement with the Port of Morgan City on temporary office space with access to meeting rooms at the port.

Hidalgo said the port has offered the space for $750 a month plus $250 for outdoor storage space as well as about $140 for 10 percent of utilities.

“It’s a pretty nice office space,” Hidalgo said. “It’s not in mid-parish which is still our goal, but it’s available to us right now.”

St. Mary Now & Franklin Banner-Tribune

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Morgan City Daily Review
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Phone: 985-384-8370
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