Reese Lane subdivision approved at Planning Commission reconsideration

Reese Lane,  a 50-lot subdivision proposed on 17.5 acres just .2 mile north of controversial Brookstone subdivision along Braud Rd south of Parker Rd in Council District 7, was denied by a 2-1 vote of a short-handed Planning Commission on June 14.  Appealed to the Parish Council, which was convened as the Planning Commission Appeals Board on September 7, Reese Lane was sent back to the Commission for Reconsideration where it was approved by a 5-1 vote on Wednesday.

Four months ago Commissioners Aaron Chaisson and Wade Schexnaydre comprised what was thought to be the majority denying Reese Lane’s subdivision preliminary plat against Morrie Bishop’s lone vote.  Julio Dumas occupied the non-voting chair since Matthew Pryor joined Tony Christy, and Ken Firmin in absentia.  Eight public speakers raised the common drainage, traffic, and other infrastructure concerns in June and four of them returned for an encore on Wednesday; to no avail.  Chairman Pryor joined Commissioners Bishop, Dumas, Christy, and Firmin in the majority; Commissioner Chaisson repeated his vote to deny.

Commissioner Schexnaydre was absent.

“Does the commission even have the authority to re-vote on something it’s already once denied?” Aaron Chaisson asked.

Legal Counsel Cody Martin deemed it “a gray area.”

“Y’all are asking me to get in the mind of the Council.  I don’t know what they were thinking.  The Parish Council is the ultimate governing authority…they sent it back to y’all to reconsider and take new action,” Martin opined.  “That’s why we’re here tonight…”

Apparently Martin had not discussed the issue with his fellow Ascension District Attorney O’Neil Parenton who led the Council discussion on September 7 which resulted in Wednesday’s reconsideration.  Nothing had changed in the Reese Lane submission and the packet of information corresponding to the item was the same as considered on June 14.

Chairman Pryor was also unsure.

“I’m assuming they want a vote, one way or another, by more of the commission,” the chairman surmised.

So Reese Lane got another bite at the apple.

One resident brought up persistent drainage problems plaguing multiple developments nearby.  In June of 2016 Chad Stevens of MR Engineering said “there was a Master Drainage study (for Phase 1 and Shadows of Ascension)” in 2006 which utilized flawed calculations that had been used by subsequent developments.

“We have been working with the parish to figure out a solution to that,” Stevens offered last year.  “We have not reached a solution at this point but we’ll continue to work, in addition to working with the engineer for Brookstone to possibly, during their construction, make some changes to some downstream structures to try to fix that problem caused by (Parker Place Estate’s) First Phase.”

Brookstone’s engineer, Quality Engineering & Surveying, is also Reese Lane’s engineer.  But it was Reese Lane’s attorney who addressed the Commission on Wednesday with regard to the persistent drainage concern.  Jimmy Percy claimed all calculations were independent of previous developments.

A lukewarm Shaun Sherrow of CSRS, Inc., the Commission’s Engineering Review Agency, seemed to sign off on Percy’s argument.  Good enough for five Planning Commissioners.