Parish suspends permit fees for flood victims

Brandie Richardson @B_lifestyles

A resolution was passed during the Nov. 17 parish council meeting suspending all permit fees on home re-building for flood victims. The resolution will only remain in effect for 180 days.

The people of Ascension Parish are ready to get back home,” said Parish President Kenny Matassa. “We streamlined the process and waived the fees to help make that happen.”

For property owners who have already paid for permits, an application for refunds can be completed at the Building Department in the Governmental Complex located at 615 Worthey St. in Gonzales. The permit and receipts are required.

More information regarding refunds can be found by calling the Building Department at (225) 450-1002.

The Ascension Parish Master Transportation Plan was also heavily discussed. Public Works Director Bill Roux provided council member with information concerning the 50 year transportation plan that aims to improve roads throughout the Parish.

Ascension resident Jeff Pettit voiced some of his concerns regarding the master plan. Pettit asked the council to consider putting the plan to a vote, allowing for residents in the Parish to decide whether they approve or disapprove of the plan.

"To do a 50 year plan for a parish of 110,000 plus people for $750,000, I just don't see it happening," Pettit said. "If we are going to do a 50 year plan I think that this needs to be put before the voters. I don't think that 11 people on a council and an administration have the right to decide without asking the voters what we are going to be doing for the next 50 years. I think this is rushed."

"We don't want to limit ourself," Roux said. "We want to step back a moment and say how do we want the Parish to look in 30,40, 50 years. Where do we want the growth to be? We need to understand what we want to grow and we need to work towards providing the infrastructure to make that happen. That is a long, long process. That's why we keep calling this a 50 year plan."

The council approved a contract between the Parish and HNTB, who will provide engineering and professional services for the Master Transportation Plan.

Matassa announced that the Parish was granted the right-of-ways for the Edenbourne Connector, a two-lane road project that will connect to St. Landry Ave. However, the Parish did not receive the $5.2 million from the state to complete the project.

"I got with Mr.Roux and we’re going to start clearing that property ourself.That’s one project right there that we're in trouble with," Matassa said.

A bid of $334,000 from Blount General Contractors was accepted for renovations to the Lamar-Dixon Expo Center Gymnasium.

The council approved a recommendation form the Zoning Commission to approve the Ascension Parish Zoning Map to rezone the property located on the east side of Hodgeson Road from rural to crossroad commercial for Kenny's Rentals.

An ordinance was introduced amending the Chapter Five of the Code of Ordinances pertaining to the prohibition on animal sales in restricted areas.

Three ordinances were approved, one to adopt the 2016 and 2017 budget, another to revoke and abandon a right of way on Lottie Henderson Road for Crawfish Properties and to correct the Millage Ordinance for Fire Protection District #3 that was adopted on July 7 that stated the millage was 8.61 instead of 9.35.