Enforcing conditions in zoning cases - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Enforcing conditions in zoning cases

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Concerned Carlyss residents wanted the Calcasieu Parish Planning and Zoning board to block a proposed so-called "man camp" coming to their community. 

But the zoning board rejected their pleas, and voted to approve a zoning exception to allow the workforce housing project.
 
However, the board did place 11 conditions to which First Flight Holdings, the company behind the project, agreed.     

That includes a drainage impact study,  a natural buffer where possible and exterior lighting pointed away from residents' homes.

Others include submitting a landscape plan to providing a copy of a code of conduct to be signed by Moss Lake Village residents.

 
But what can be done to enforce what's been promised? One of the key promises made by First Flight Holdings is that it'll only have clients south of Southland Executive Airport.

That's something that will, no doubt, cut down on traffic passing through Carlyss.  But what if residents were to discover the company wasn't keeping its promises.  Calcasieu Planning & Development Director Wes Crain says all the details will be part of a development agreement that is a legally enforceable contract.

"We could pull their permit and then, obviously, without the permit they are in violation there. They could be found guilty of a misdemeanor.  There could be fines imposed or there could be jail time," said Crain.

As well, Crain says they can get an order to force a land owner or business to stop doing something if it violates local ordinance.

"Once we know that a violation exists on the property, and I send a notice, the notice will tell them that all operations must stop.  It's basically a stop work order.  And the stop work order is placed on them," said Crain.
  
That's measure Crain describes as drastic and one he's never resorted to.

"Most folks have...once they know that they're in violation, they tend to, you know, want to come into that compliance," said Crain.

Crain says they are responsive to citizens who think an ordinance or development agreement is being violated.

"And we'll send someone out to the site to investigate to see if their plan is in compliance and if it's not, we will cite them," said Crain.

The First Flight Project received a zoning exception-- in part because it's considered temporary housing to help reduce the impact of industrial expansion in the area.  

When the industrial expansion is finished, First Flight will have six months to remove pods used to house workers.

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