Letter: Urge your council representative to adopt new Traffic Impact policy

Jamestown Crossing subdivision should never have been brought before the Planning Commission.


The Matassa administration, in the person of CAO Ken Dawson, received a study by Urban Systems on April 15, 2016 that cost citizens of Ascension Parish $42,000. The study concluded that the traffic impact studies required of developers were worthless and do not show the true impact new development causes. CAO Dawson buried that report for a year.

The report was given to Councilman Aaron Lawler in early 2017 and he buried it for another year.  In the meantime 21 new developments, including Jamestown, have been approved using the worthless traffic studies. If the consultant’s recommendations had been implemented in a timely manner after receipt in April 2016, Jamestown would never have made it to a Planning Commission agenda due to the fact that the intersection at Hwy 930/42’s Level of Service is an “F” as in fail.

Urban Systems recommended implementing a policy patterned on St. Tammany Parish’s method which prohibits development near intersections with Level of Service worse than “D.”

Why did CAO Ken Dawson, and others in the Matassa administration, bury the Urban Systems Report?

Why did Councilman Aaron Lawler bury it for a year?

Who else on the parish council knew about the report and stayed silent while Ascension Parish is drowning in increasing levels of traffic and drainage issues?

Last night Councilman Lawler stated that he is working with the school system to get them to, specifically, add roadways (parking lots) on school property to move carpoolers on/off our highways at dropoff/pickup. That, to me, is troubling.  I did not support the school system millages to build parking lots to compensate for the inaction of our parish council in reining in irresponsible development which is causing our traffic nightmares.

FYI, Councilman Lawler chairs the Transportation Committee of the parish council.

The Planning Commission, chaired by Matt Pryor, is a stain on our parish and is causing measurable damage. When a developer “meets” all requirements he leads the charge to approve even when the approval is not in the best interests of the health, safety, and welfare of the community. When the developer falls short of meeting the requirements Pryor leads the charge to make excuses and to grant variances (even when not allowed by statute to do so).

Who wins and loses?  Developers win and citizens, new and old, lose.

At the parish council meeting on Thursday, May 17 at 6:00 pm the council will vote on implementing the two year old recommendations (thanks, no thanks Lawler & Dawson for the delay) from Urban Systems to upgrade and strengthen our traffic study requirements for new development. Come and speak. Let the council hear your voice. If you can’t make it, call your council member and urge a yes vote.

A no vote only benefits developers.

May 17, 2018
Courthouse East-Irma Blvd.

Jeff Pettit