UPDATE: AFTER MAY COUNCIL MEETING

Parish Council Passes Revised Moratorium

Tonight, the St. Tammany Parish Council passed a revised version of a zoning density moratorium that Parish President Mike Cooper originally proposed this year.

With a unanimous vote of 14-0, the Council approved a temporary moratorium on rezoning of residential property for higher-density developments. The measure restricts the rezoning of property to allow more than four housing units per acre of land, or to zone such parcels as Planned Unit Developments (PUDs) or Traditional Neighborhood Development Districts (TNDs) for at least three months.

To be clear, the moratorium does not restrict building permits and allows building under the property’s current zoning classification.

“Although what was passed was less restrictive than what I originally requested, I am happy with this ordinance and will sign it into law,” Cooper said after Thursday’s vote. “Some Council members were unhappy last month that I had not consulted them before the original ordinance was introduced, but in the end our system of government worked and a satisfactory compromise was reached.”

Cooper’s original proposal would’ve provided a six-month moratorium on rezoning to allow residential development of more than one home per acre. It was amended at the April Council meeting to its current form.

Cooper requested the moratorium while the Parish completes studies on drainage, traffic, wetlands and other issues related to growth, all of which will be completed by 2024.

“As I have said from the beginning of my administration, a balanced pause on high-density rezoning is desperately needed to properly plan for the future of our Parish. My administration will continue to fight for what is right for our citizens and the future of our Parish.”

MAY UPDATE

The vote on the AMENDED version of the proposed parish-wide moratorium is expected THIS Thursday, May 5th at the St. Tammany Parish Council meeting on Koop Dr. We need as many members as possible to SHOW UP for the Home Building Industry!

The amended version is the result of many speakers and presentations at the March and April Council meetings, and one- on- one meetings with several council members to explain how the original moratorium would critically hurt our industry. Many of you have attended the monthly meetings to represent our industry, which is essential to advocacy.

Original version:

Ord. Cal. No. 6903 – Ordinance to impose a six (6) month moratorium on receipt of submissions by the Parish Zoning Commission, the Parish Planning Commission, or Parish Administration for rezoning or subdivision/resubdivision of property which would result in an increase in the allowable density of a residentially-zoned parcel greater than A2, to no greater density than one (1) unit per acre. (Parishwide) (Davis/Cooper)

Amended version:

Ord. Cal. No. 6903BB – Ordinance to impose a three (3) month moratorium on receipt of submissions by the Parish Zoning Commission for the rezoning of property which would result in an increase in the allowable density of a residentially-zoned parcel greater than A-4 (four [4] units per acre), a Planned Unit Development Overlay (“PUD”), or a Traditional Neighborhood Development District (“TND”). (Parishwide) (Davis/Lorino) (Introduced 03/03/2022) (Amended 04/07/2022)

Please stand with us Thursday evening. If there are unexpected changes, we will be prepared. If there are no changes, we will support the amended version. Either way, we need you to SHOW UP for the Home Building Industry!

*Arrive between 4:30-5:00 to get into the Council Chambers. Meeting starts at 6pm.

APRIL UPDATE

St. Tammany Parish President Mike Cooper recently proposed an ordinance to restrict applications for rezoning of properties to densities greater than one unit per acre. This ordinance was amended at the April Council meeting.

Several NHBA members spoke in opposition at the April STP Council meeting. Watch here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rXCbAovINBw&list=PLH9u5rn0HS1cqn0AxKdDXYjsMMnKKm42V&index=4&t=18247s

MARCH UPDATE

As you may know, St. Tammany Parish President Mike Cooper recently proposed an ordinance to restrict applications for rezoning of properties to densities greater than one unit per acre. President Cooper continues to say the proposed moratorium is not a moratorium on building and development. However, there is already a lot shortage and once the available lots are gone, the residential construction industry will not survive if restricted to one unit per acre. Building and development will stop, regardless of the intent of this ordinance.

Several NHBA members spoke in opposition at the March STP Council meeting. Watch here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLH9u5rn0HS1cqn0AxKdDXYjsMMnKKm42V.

While many councilmembers expressed their disapproval of the way the ordinance was announced, the introduction was approved.

What can you do?

  • Email ([email protected]) all the St. Tammany Councilmembers requesting them to vote NO on the proposed parish-wide moratorium.
  • Attend the Parish Council meeting Thursday, April 7 at 5:30 p.m.

Presented at the March 2022 St. Tammany Parish Council meeting:

The Home Builders Association has been a responsible community partner for over 50 years. Since the creation of building codes in 1972, we have been a responsible partner. In a 1974 Tammany Farmer article titled, “Homebuilders to Promote Parish Wide Building Codes”, Mandeville Mayor Cordes commented, “I believe this group can be a tremendous organization for the good of St. Tammany Parish.”

The HBA was at the table for the creation of “New Directions 2025”– the Strategic Plan for Economic Development under President Kevin Davis. We were the 4th largest employer when President Brister declared “St. Tammany Parish — open for business, poised for growth, embracing opportunity.”
Home builders did not recklessly build without regard to growth or drainage. As community partners, they paid impact fees EVEN before they were required. Builders and developers worked with parish leaders in 2005 when St. Tammany was the first parish in Louisiana to begin collecting mandatory impact fees to help offset the effects of rapid growth. HBA met with the parish administration before the Development Fee Ordinance was introduced in 2018. There was a desire to work with our members and solve problems together.

This moratorium will hurt our industry, the subcontractors, suppliers, bankers, plumbers, and electricians, – NOT just the builders. Lots are too scarce, supply costs are too high, and homes are already too expensive to require one home per acre.

History proves we can be part of the solution without shutting us down.

Letter to the St. Tammany Parish Council:

On behalf of the Northshore Home Builders Association’s 700+ members, we wish to communicate to you that we publicly oppose the proposed ordinance to restrict applications for rezoning of properties to densities greater than one unit per acre.

There are several reasons that this moratorium is not a good idea for St. Tammany Parish:
1. A parish wide moratorium is unnecessary because rural areas of St. Tammany would benefit from growth and development. Councilmembers already have the authority to pass individual moratoriums in their own districts based on needs and challenges in their area.
2. Housing affordability, a key quality of life indicator, will become a significant challenge in terms of recruiting and retaining workforce. The average home on the market currently is listed for $553,000 which is not realistically attainable for the average household in St. Tammany, including those who work in the four largest industries: hospitality, healthcare, retail and construction.
3. Jobs will be lost. Businesses will suffer. In a study by the Southeastern Business Research Center using 2018 data, 1,431 single family homes built in St. Tammany translated to 4,580 jobs that year. With more houses built in 2019, 2020 and 2021, we know that the impact is even greater with more jobs at stake than ever.
4. Mandatory impact fees are already collected from builders and developers to help offset the effects of rapid growth, specifically for road and drainage projects.
5. Once the existing low inventory of available lots are gone, the residential construction industry will not survive if the minimum lot size is one acre.
There are serious issues to be examined herein. We need a plan to address traffic and drainage, not the wide-sweeping and harmful actions that are proposed before you.
In St. Tammany Parish, construction is the fourth largest industry in terms of jobs, employing 8,199 workers as of Q1 2022. The construction industry alone contributes more than $770 million to our local economy. This is what is at stake for the community with a vote on this moratorium.

The NHBA and its members urge you to vote no on the proposed moratorium.