In 2007, West Feliciana Parish residents recognized that opportunities such as the construction of the James Audubon Bridge over the Mississippi River and the influx of development along Highway 61 also represented risks for their community. Rife with rural beauty and historically significant sites and buildings, the parish was suddenly vulnerable to an onslaught of unplanned growth with potentially devastating effects on the culture and character of the community. Meanwhile, the existing planning and zoning ordinances contained 230 “duplications, conflicts and inconsistencies” according to an analysis by the Municipal-Code Corporation. Citizens and leaders began to organize.

APPROACH

To nurture growth and economic viability in the parish, CPEX is facilitating an inclusive process with parish stakeholders to guide development and capitalize on assets and opportunities while maintaining the irreplaceable charm and lifestyles that shape the West Feliciana landscape.

PLANNING

In 2007, after multiple meetings, conferences, and a lot of hard work, the parish began working through finding and facilitation via CPEX to create a comprehensive plan for growth in the parish. Through a transparent hiring process, Fregonese Associates of Portland was chosen as the lead on the planning team. CPEX worked with the parish to recruit participation from key stakeholders  and to for a Police Jury-approved support committee.

The West Feliciana Parish Comprehensive Plan was created through numerous public meetings in all Jury Districts and with significant citizen involvement. The plan was adopted by the Police Jury and the Planning and Zoning Commission in December of 2008.

POLICY

Since August of 2009, along with Austin-based planning firm Code Studio and newly hired parish Planning Director Chip Mills, CPEX has been working with West Feliciana Parish as a pilot community in the implementation of the Louisiana Land Use Toolkit. This toolkit, designed to provide a comprehensible set of codes and ordinances for development, is a crucial next step in realizing the vision laid out by the citizen-driven comprehensive plan. Like the plan, the toolkit document is developed through a series of public input and feedback sessions held throughout the parish.

The West Feliciana Parish Toolkit Support Committee included stakeholder from a variety of geographical areas and professional and demographic backgrounds.

OUTCOMES

  • West Feliciana Parish Comprehensive Plan created by the citizens, for the citizens
  • Hiring of Planning Director
  • Implementation of a customized Louisiana Land Use Toolkit in the parish (adoption still pending)