BATON ROUGE, La (BRPROUD) – The East Baton Rouge Metro Council has approved a 12-month development moratorium in flood hazard areas.
East Baton Rouge Metro Councilman Rowdy Gaudet said the moratorium will allow the parish to get in a place where they can better manage the water with the stormwater master plan.
“This is one piece of a larger puzzle and we are focused on addressing drainage for this parish,” said Gaudet.
On Wednesday, the Metro Council unanimously approved the item that could pause new land development approvals for specified projects within flood hazard areas.
In the past, developers building in certain flood zones would have to build to the standard of a 25-year flood event. Now they must build to accommodate a 100-year flood event in those flood zones.
“We can take care of some of the 20 million dollars worth of drainage projects that are ongoing right now. We can implement some of these major canal clearing and channel clearing that’s set to take place,” said Gaudet.
Despite the plans, President of the Greater Baton Rouge Federation of Civic Associations Ed Lagucki said it is not a moratorium.
“What’s happening is we are revising or making revisions to the UDC which directionally are correct, but it’s not going to stop any of the development because the developers can meet the requirements,” said Lagucki.
He said, “If you’re going to do this, sort of what like Dwight Hudson said is, you ought to apply it across the parish.”
Although the moratorium is not like other parishes it is something Gaudet is calling a step in the right direction.
“This moratorium is a bridge to get us a year out where we can get some more data in and determine where and how we develop in this parish,” said Gaudet.
Statement from Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome:
I fully support the enhanced development standards for special flood hazard areas, approved by the Metro Council this evening. The enhanced standards will serve as a bridge to the completion of the East Baton Rouge Parish Stormwater Master Plan, which is collecting important data to inform future development standards related to drainage and water management. Some standards have already been updated from data currently collected for the master plan.
The council voted unanimously to approve the moratorium that will go into effect on Sept. 18.
Click here to read the ordinance.