Parish Council looks for permitting solutions in absence of Planning and Zoning Director

ParishCouncil 10-01-18

A special called Parish Council meeting Monday night, Oct. 1, was held to approve two ordinances that will secure the services of certified building officials. The meeting was made necessary because the Parish no longer has a certified building official and it’s having a negative impact on people who need permits in the parish.

The Parish’s Planning and Zoning Director Greg Lemoine chose to retire very recently. However, Council woman Patsy Ward Hoover said she read a letter to the editor written by Lemoine that claimed that he didn’t retire by his own choice. “Why all of a sudden did he just up and retire. If that’s what we’re saying, why he saying something different,” Hoover questioned.

Councilman Chris Page said whatever occurred with Lemoine, Nowlin needs to go into executive session at the October Parish Council meeting and explain everything to the Council members.

Ordinances:

1. Authorize Parish President to execute intergovernmental agreements with one or more local governmental authorities for the provision of services by certified building officials and/or inspectors.

2. Authorize Parish President to execute agreements with one or more third party certified building officials for the provision of services.

The agreement with a third party provider is to get things moving again within a day or two. That includes plan reviews, permit issuance, and inspection and issuance later of certificates of occupancy.

It takes longer to enter into an intergovernmental agreement, so the first ordinance would cover the parish in the short-term while they look into a more long-term solution. Both of the ordinances were approved with an amendment that they be resisted in 180 days.

Councilman Russell Rachal asked Parish President Rick Nowlin if, to his knowledge, from the first day of the Home Rule Charter to this date were there any projects that have been constructed without a permit. Nowlin said to his knowledge, there hadn’t been.

Rachal then asked if there were any permits issued after the start of a project. Nowlin said he knows of instances where projects were started and then told they had to come get a permit from the Parish offices. The attorney then said there may be instances that haven’t been reported to the President’s office, but have been constructed never the less. Rachal then asked if fines were issued when these situations were discovered. Nowlin said he isn’t aware of any fines being issued in the past.

Larry Walters of IBTS in northwest Louisiana has inspectors in this area. IBTS is a non profit nationwide company that aids local government to relieve the burden on them. IBTS is the building official of the City of Campti. He said they’d be willing to work with the Parish with the existing permits and inspections to make sure they go through. He also presented them with a fee schedule and proposal that he said is probably cheaper than the Council might imagine. IBTS keeps the prices low because they’re dedicated to helping local governments solve problems.

2 thoughts on “Parish Council looks for permitting solutions in absence of Planning and Zoning Director

    • The only thing fishy is the never ending assumptions on the news here when there are insufficient facts. SMH.

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