Saturday, March 13, 2010

an editorial

Spot Zoning's adverse effects and ramifications fail to preserve the integrity of our residential neighborhoods, result in a piece meal of yet another land use plan developed without thoughtful deliberations, and make any assemblance of a public input process a charade from the beginning. Instead of a recovery plan that protects our right to secure tenure, the shift continues toward industry, undermining our health and that of our children.
Developed as the master land use plan through the work and recommendation of the Citizens Recovery Committee, and adopted by the Council in 2006 , the Waggoner and Ball Plan was submitted to and accepted by theLouisiana Recovery Authority Board as the foundation for the St Bernard Parish Recovery Plan .

Subsequent zoning changes allowed by Council ordinance, which are incompatible with the existing land use maps, seem to arbitrarily enforce local code. Although recently "modernized" with the advice of Donald Poland, a professional planner made available through a grant from the Greater New Orleans Foundation, the local Code of Ordinances Chapter 22 Zoning (available online at MuniCode) left residential properties unprotected. The minimal allowance or required buffer between heavy industry and residential remains unchanged at a mere 100 feet.

Recently introduced dockets, if granted, will allow industrial zoning adjacent to residential homes with even less protective footage; not to mention nearby churches and schools. {Docket 7 - 10 Municipal No. 328 West St Bernard Hwy at Delille Street, Petition for Zoning Change from C2 General Commercial to I1 Industrial} .

It's time for St Bernard Parish to move away from politically motivated zoning changes. That authority should remain with the Planning Commissioners, with appeals of planning decisions heard in State Court.

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