If anyone does not believe that the Shreveport Caddo Metropolitan Planning Commission (MPC) delays construction and runs up costs for developers, than you need look no further than District One Fire Chief Dan Cotten.
Cotten appeared before the Caddo Commission last week to give update on the reconstruction of a heavy volume fire station located behind the KCS Railyards. The Commission passed a resolution authoring the fire district to pursue $1 million dollar bond funding for this station.
When asked about progress on the plans to replace the station, which has excessive moisture and mold problems, Cotten shared his MPC experience.
And the news was NOT good—for Cotten, his firefighters and the tax paying public.
The MPC has imposed strict requirements for landscaping , removal of gravel from a parking lot and replacement with asphalt or concrete, and other ‘ice cream” standards. Bottom line, complying with the MPC demands will run up the costs approximately $60 grand.
And this is for a fire station in the parish. On one side of the station is an over grown junkyard. On the other side is an empty lot that the firemen mow.
Cotten explained that he (and his architect) have been required to attend several non productive meetings with the MPC staff. And in an effort to eliminate the onerous costs, an application for a variance on some of the “add ons” has been filed.
But guess how long before the variance hearing? Think October or November.
The Caddo Commission has discussed the many problems with the MPC and the Unified Development Code (UDC). Needless to say, the news from Cotten went over like a lead balloon.
Earlier this year the Commission decreased it’s budgeted contribution to the MPC. Currently there is discussion of reducing the jurisdiction of the MPC in the parish and further decreasing its budget.
And in the meantime, taxpayers will pay more for a fire station and wait longer for the reconstruction to be completed thanks to MPC Executive Director Mark Sweeney.
How much longer the Commission will allow Sweeney to delay construction and increase unnecessary expenses is an open question. But, it is a ticking time bomb.