Parish council members briefed on UDC provisions

St. Mary Parish Council members got an overview of the new Unified Development Code they will be asked to adopt next week during a special workshop Wednesday.
The 247-page UDC updates and combines existing development and zoning ordinances to a more concise and user friendly document, according to Matt Bucchin of the Kendig Keast Collaborative.
Kendig Keast based in Sugar Land, Texas, was retained by the parish as a consulting firm on the project along with Lucien Cutrera of LJC Poole LLC.
Chief Administrative Officer Henry “Bo” LaGrange said the project was funded with a $150,000 community development grant aimed at resiliency projects as part of hurricane recovery after the Gustav and Ike storms in 2008.
Work on the document has been an approximate three-year project, he added.
“Somewhere between 75- and 80 percent of this document is verbatim from your existing text,” Bucchin said.
The document addresses inconsistencies and contradictions in the various other ordinances and adds new regulations on “traditional neighborhood developments” on developments similar to River Ranch in Lafayette.
After Bucchin’s presentation, St. Mary Parish Industrial Group President Greg Roussel commended the council on the document.
He added that SMIG’s initial opposition was mainly due to not knowing the contents of the lengthy document.
“We were just trying to determine if there were any issues that would negatively hit some of our members,” he said. “These ordinances are to protect the landowners and not to restrict them.”
The council also heard from Franklin area resident Tommy Ducote who had questions on zoning ordinances versus subdivision and deed covenants.
Legal counsel Eric Duplantis said covenants are private contracts between landowners that are not superseded by zoning regulations.
An additional public hearing on the ordinance will be called at 5:45 p.m. Wednesday prior to the regular meeting when it will be considered for adoption.

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