PPC takes action on rising river levelsMay 17th, 2011 | By William Dilella | Category: top story
The Plaquemines Parish Council met on May 12, discussing several ordinances and resolutions surrounding the rising Mississippi River, as well as ongoing issues over zoning in Myrtle Grove.
At the Port, Harbor and Terminal District Meeting
Port Manager John Pennison talked about the ongoing efforts to manage the rising river.
“We are out inspecting the levees on a daily basis,” Pennison said. “We went out with the sheriffs department for a fly over of the levees, which we will do at least once a week.”
Pennison also went over the various effects of the rising Mississippi River.
Even as the Bonnet Carre Spillway lets out water to relieve the increasing pressure, the river continue to rise. Pennison informed the Council that if the river hits seventeen-and-a-half feet at the Carrollton Gauge, then most vessels would have to keep a pilot on board for safety. If the water makes it to eighteen feet on the gauge, then the Harvey and Algiers locks will be stopped; at eighteen-and-one-half feet, the authorities will have to shutdown the Mississippi for passage, as the water will be more than one-and-half feet over some local levees.
And as seepage sneaks its way through the levees, and trees on the batture’s edge fall under the current, Louisiana residents wait to see what the river does and how the authorities will handle the situation, especially now that the Corps has opened the Morganza Spillway.
Several parishes have called for help thwarting the flood waters they will see as a result of the spillway opening.
Two parishes, St. Mary’s and Terrebone, have called on Plaquemines for assistance, including manpower and machines for sandbags to hold back the waters their parishes will likely see.
As no cooperative endeavor agreement exists already between St. Mary’s or Terrebone with Plaqumeines, the Councilman Marla Cooper, District 9, called for a suspension of rules to add both those agreements to the agenda. These cooperative endeavor agreements are necessary for when the parish seeks reimbursement for any property, machinery or manpower used in aiding another parish, lest it come out of the parishes own pocket. A cooperative agreement had previously been written for Plaquemines and Terrebone, but had not cleared through the Council yet. Both cooperative agreements were passed by a vote of 9-0 at the meeting.
BP in Myrtle Grove
Myrtle Grove homeowners took the microphone once more to voice their concerns over BP subcontractors in their residential neighborhood.
“All the boats have been moved out of the residential area and into the marina. All the cars are moved out to the marina, and I want to thank you for that,” said Warren Lawrence. Lawrence told the Council that the only remaining obstacle regarding the BP subcontractors was the multiple and rotating number of inhabitants in one local home.
The agreement signed by the homeowners when they purchase property in Myrtle Grove stipulates that renting is allowed under a one-year lease, which the owner of the contested property agreed to a one year lease with BP to house subcontractors.
Lawrence was told by Public Service Director Byron Williams that the legal department was preparing all the necessary documents, with accompanying instructions, to move forward with the claim.
The owner of the property in question, Gino Mendoza, addressed the statements about his property. Mendoza, also on the board of Myrtle Grove, claims to have complied with all stipulations regarding the leasing, parking requirements, and vehicle occupancy restrictions, and that this property is a rental, not a boarding house.
Mike Metcalf from the Permits, Planning and Zoning Department informed the Council and the Myrtle Grove homeowners that the zoning—the issue at the heart of this debate—needs updating. The Myrtle Grove residents believed their property zoned R1, for residents. Metcalf pointed out that the zone is actually FP, Floodplain.
“The problem with the FP zoning classification is certain businesses are allowed, and [the FP zoning] allows other businesses without approval from this Council,” said Metcalf. “These people should have the comforts and guarantees…and have no more worry than the people of Springwood.”
• An ordinance granting approval for $142,800 in Local Government Assistance grants was approved to install some 4,700 feet of PVC pipe with fire main line valves and 10 fire hydrants on to East Bayou Road in Belle Chasse. The piping will connect a number of residents, who only had water wells, to the Corps of Engineers water system being constructed, and improve water quality and fire safety. The resolution passed 9-0.
• A homestead exemption for disabled veterans was added to this Octobers ballot by a vote of 9-0. The exemption would provide an additional $7,500 in housing assistance for veterans who were 100 percent disabled while on active duty. The amendment must be approved at the local level before it can take effect.
• The Council passed a resolution to encourage local hiring. Rev Tyronne Edwards spoke before the Council on the subject.
“We think this symbolic resolution you offer here will help this effort. You’d be the first to introduce the resolution and pass it,” said Edwards.
• The administration announced roads to the Eastbank will be closed for construction on May 17, 18, and 19 from 9 p.m. to 4 a.m. Emergency vehicles will be allowed through. The Army Corps of Engineers and the Department of Transportation and Development ordered the shutdown for their ongoing constructions projects.
• Several businesses were granted tax incentives through the Louisiana Enterprise Zone Program. This program provides the incentives to businesses who will promote job growth in the area. The businesses included: C&C Marine and Repair, Crescent Coatings & Services, and Delta Land Partners. All motions passed 8-0, as Councilman Jeff Edgecombe, District 7, was absent for the votes.
The next scheduled Council meeting will be held on May 26, 1 p.m. at the temporary courthouse on F. Edward Hebert in Belle Chasse.