Developers get green light for boat slip

Alvin J. Benoit
May 11, 2009
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May 14, 2009

Development of the Hollygrove subdivision, including its 3,600-foot-long boat slip, and the Concord Business Park in Houma will go forward.

The Terrebonne Parish Council’s Community Development and Planning Committee at its meeting Monday night voted to overturn a decision made by the Houma-Terrebonne Regional Planning Commission last month denying the developments’ preliminary and conceptual phases.

Plans for the developments, both located near the Barrios and Mulberry subdivisions, will return to the planning commission for the engineering phase.

Several Barrios and Mulberry residents spoke out against building the slip at Monday’s meeting and at the previous parish council meeting. Residents said the slip would act as a conduit for storm surges during hurricanes.

A motion by Councilman Kevin Voisin, whose district contains the developments, to uphold the planning commission’s decision failed. Voisin has spoken out against the cutting of new waterways in Terrebonne because of the flooding threat.

Councilman Johnny Pizzolatto, who voted to overturn the planning commission’s decision, said denying the developments would leave Terrebonne open to lawsuits costing the parish hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars.

“You only have the assumption that the slip will flood homes,” Pizzolatto said.

“Just because we’re sending it back to the planning commission doesn’t mean it will be approved,” he said.

Pizzolatto said the inexperience of Voisin, who is serving his first year on the parish council, caused him to make the wrong decision. He said Voisin “begged” the planning commission at its meeting to send the decision about the developments to the parish council, a claim denied by Voisin.

“I’m not standing up here defending a development,” Pizzolatto said. “I have not been bought out. I have not been told how to vote. I truly believe this has to go back to planning so it can be done within the limits of the legal system.”

Voisin, supported by Councilwoman Teri Cavalier, said Pizzolatto’s claim was a severe misrepresentation. Voisin also asked why the decision was overturned when the planning commission has more expertise than the parish council about land developments.

Pizzolatto passed two motions declaring the council’s vote was not an endorsement of the developments, but Voisin countered that the vote was an affirmation.