Ascension Parish Council extends moratorium on developments to May 31

Michael Tortorich
Gonzales Weekly Citizen
The Ascension Parish Council held a regular meeting April 7 at the courthouse in Donaldsonville. Shown from left are Chair John Cagnolatti, Teri Casso, Chase Melancon, Aaron Lawler, Dal Waguespack, and Michael Mason.

The Ascension Parish Council approved an extension to the moratorium on new developments to May 31.

Council members added nearly two extra months to the previously approved nine-month moratorium during the April 7 meeting held at the Ascension Parish Courthouse in Donaldsonville. It was set to expire April 17.

The moratorium was put into place June 17 last year at the courthouse in Gonzales as some citizens voiced their frustration with flooding and traffic problems in the fast-growing areas on the east side of the parish.

The clash between the council and administration spurred recall efforts against some council members, all of which ultimately failed.

Census figures reported after 2020 show Ascension Parish's population has nearly doubled since 2000. The unprecedented growth to areas south of Baton Rouge has added a total of 18 percent to the population since 2010. The parish has an estimated population of more than 128,000 with no sign of the figures slowing.

District 5's Dempsey Lambert was not in attendance for the meeting. District 4's Corey Orgeron was in attendance but left prior to the public hearing on the ordinance. 

Susan Jordan and Tim Babin both spoke in favor of the extension during the public hearing.

"Everyone in this parish knows we need to work on our drainage and our infrastructure before approving any new developments," Jordan said.

She also spoke in favor of requiring roads to measure 20 feet wide to ensure safety for school buses.

Babin said he has been a resident of the parish his entire life and traces his family history back to the arrival of the Acadians in south Louisiana.

"I think that by extending this moratorium and getting these ordinances passed we can protect not only the people who have been here forever but the people who have been here for maybe only a year," Babin said.

He pointed out that home ownership is often the biggest investment for citizens.