Concerns raised about possible revisions to Calcasieu sewerage o - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Concerns raised about possible revisions to Calcasieu sewerage ordinance

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) -

Local business people are raising a red flag on proposed changes in Calcasieu Parish's sewerage ordinance.

Some predict a huge cost increase at multiple levels for developers, realtors and consumers. However, parish officials say those who have read proposed revisions have only seen them because they were seeking input from various segments of the community.

Proper sewerage is essential to prevent health and environmental risks, yet there's increasing concern about possible changes to the ordinance that would increase requirements and thus cost.

"The big rub on the ordinance is that there is a mandate by the parish, that all infrastructure, sewer infrastructure for development be transferred to the public entity. We don't feel this is the appropriate way to address the issue," said Billy Loftin.

He's a member of the Alliance for Positive Growth. Loftin says the ordinance is overreaching.

"These mandates increase the cost to the developer, the end user, whether it be a lessee that's leasing the property or owner that's buying a property, in some instances maybe preclude the development that the builder or developer is seeking to pursue because of the cost," he said.

Realtor Mary Kay Hopkins says sales could be lost and agrees cost analysis is crucial.

"It affects the property seller, they may not be able to make a sale if the costs are too excessive. If they do make a sale they may have to take less because this is a consideration. It's going to cost the developer. The developer is going to pass that on to the home buyer, and in an age where we're so concerned about housing affordability this isn't the sort of thing we should be doing," said Hopkins.

She thinks enforcement is more feasible than causing costs to rise and says the public needs to get involved:

"I respect these guys a lot, I know they're well intended. We're not trying to bash the parish, in any way shape or form. They're open to listening to us. Frankly, we think more of the public needs to get involved,"she said.

Calcasieu Parish civil engineer John Bruce says their purpose is straightforward:

"The intent of this ordinance, revisions to this ordinance, is to protect the environment, provide reliable service to the user, preventing unacceptable environmental conditions related to wastewater treatment and discharge," he said.

Bruce says they want to take over the sewerage systems simply because they believe the users will benefit.

Parish officials say once the revisions are further along the draft ordinance will likely be changed to reflect changes from those solicited for their input.

Soon after, the ordinance with revisions should be available for public review. At that point the ordinance with proposed changes will likely be available to read on the Calcasieu Police Jury web site.

Copyright 2017 KPLC. All rights reserved.

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