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St. Tammany residential rezoning moratorium up for council vote Thursday

"I feel the rezoning moratorium is a balance between a strict building moratorium and doing nothing at all," Parish President Mike Cooper said.

ST. TAMMANY PARISH, La. — A controversial plan in St. Tammany Parish to try and halt some future residential developments will go before the parish council on Thursday. 

While many are hopeful the moratorium will help with congestion and other development issues in the parish, builders say it's not a solution and will dramatically affect them and homebuyers.

Madisonville resident Mario Alvarado moved from the Southshore about six years ago, but like many of his neighbors is sick of increasing traffic.

"From morning to evening it's heavy, it's really heavy," he said.

Some of the top complaints parish council members hear about from St. Tammany Parish residents are traffic, drainage issues and flooding.

"We can all agree development is out pacing our infrastructure," St. Tammany Parish President Mike Cooper said.

That's why Cooper is proposing a parish-wide moratorium to any rezoning that would increase the number of homes allowed per lot.

"I feel the rezoning moratorium is a balance between a strict building moratorium and doing nothing at all," Cooper said.

The moratorium would prohibit areas that are currently zoned for one house to be rezoned to build more houses on that lot.

"It's just going to create more problems for the people who live here that do need a home," said home builder Bubba Jenkins.

Jenkins believes residents may find it harder to obtain affordable housing in new neighborhoods.

"Those subdivisions go away. Then attainable housing for the consumer goes away," he said.

He also believes his business would feel a major hit.

"This is their livelihood and they know this is going to hurt them," said Amy Ybarzabal, Executive Director of Northshore Homebuilders Association.

The moratorium would be in effect six months and wouldn't affect areas that have already been rezoned or are already zoned for high density development.

"What we're fighting is a parish-wide-blanket moratorium," Ybarzabal said. "We do understand there are times and places where it makes sense. If it's needed, it should be done in a specific area for a specific time."

"I'm not opposed to anyone moving over here, but give is some time to where we can actually adjust and be prepared for the fluctuation of the people coming into St. Tammany," Alvarado said.

The parish council is set to vote on the moratorium Thursday at 6 p.m. at the St. Tammany Government Complex on Koop Drive.

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