The only issue any resident of the City of Mandeville should care about when voting this election cycle, is Port Marigny. Why, you might ask? The answer is simple – this monstrous, high-density city within our city, will alter all our way of life – FOREVER! There is no turning back once we allow this! And if you are following closely – you will see that the planning of the future of St. Tammany, is to shove as many of these high density developments as possible into our already crowded schools and traffic messes. So whether you live West of Causeway Approach or North of Florida Street – you should be concerned.
“New Urbanism” is what we are being sold on here – communities that allow you to walk and limit your use of your car. In a true “City” like New York, with tons of public transportation, one can live without a car so it is not a bad idea. However, Mandeville is not that place. The City of Mandeville passed a land use regulation (the CLURO). The Pittmans, their architect and their lawyer – do not live in Mandeville! The higher the density of their development, the more money they will make and it can be assumed, that is their priority!
As it stands, the owners are trying to shove 429 units (190 of those – apartments) into 78 acres, a 120 room hotel, 60,000 square feet of retail, 11,000 square feet for 2 restaurants and 150 boat slips. If you calculate based on the CLURO and the Port Marigny Plan – only 181 units are required on the 45 residential acres being developed. No apartments are necessary and there is no need for all that commercial space – soon to become a ghost town like the commercial development in Mariner’s Village!
The current council will likely not vote on this issue as it has not even got out of the P&Z yet. There could possibly be a lame-duck vote, but likely it will be our newly elected officials. There is a Development Agreement that will presented soon – but that will likely have the max proposed density that is ridiculously too large. And don’t fall for the, “we could use the revenue generated from this,” trap!
Voting is business and not personal, especially when it comes to the “current” small town atmosphere. I’ve had many conversations with the current elected officials as well as many of those who are running in the current election. All of them will tell me to my face, that they are not “for” it at this density. But, what does that really mean? Since I’m not a mind-reader, I can only go on what I know and my gut….
My Voting Picks
Council-At Large: If I had to vote for just one – Laure’ Sica would have my vote. She is smart, well-read (CLURO etc… & even met with the Pittmans to understand more), truly cares about her community and is a good listener. She has been accessible and we have spoken in great detail on more than one occasion (I did not know her before). I know she will do an outstanding job. Clay Madden will also get my vote as I believe he cares about the city where he will raise his young children and also has a big heart.
District II: Mike Pulaski came out the gate as a proponent for this development and after we met, and he started reading and talking to people outside his neighborhood – he has proven to me he has the best interest of the community at heart. He has been extremely accessible and I think he will do a great job. His opponent, Melinda Crawford, seems like she will do her best and has the best interest of the community as well, but we have yet to meet. My gut tells me that he is the stronger candidate.
District III: I do not vote in this district, but am 100% behind Ernest Burguieres. He has been accessible and informative to me as someone out of his district. He is a true watchdog of the people and the guy you want on your team!!!
District I: I don’t know what to think on this race. David recused himself from voting on Port Marigny and Jerry came out “for it” during the Alliance for Good Government, but I have never spoken to him personally about it. Both nice guys to me, but would have to talk to them both more to make a call.
Mayor: Tough one and I’m still truly undecided. Personally, I like them both. They both have met with me and have been accessible regarding my concerns over the years. I think I need to have a couple of more conversations and see who speaks out publicly against the high density, or I may wait until the election day to make up my mind.
Early Voting: February 20-27
Voting Day : March 5th
Planning & Zoning: Feb 17 & 23rd 7:00