Bossier Police Jury passes 90-day moratorium on riverfront building permits

BPPJ votes on moratorium to stop building permits on river side of levee

BOSSIER PARISH, LA (KSLA) - In a unanimous vote, the Bossier Parish Police Jury voted to pass the moratorium on issuing building permits on the river side of the levee.

Parish leaders say they want more time to figure out how to best serve the developers and the public in light of the recent historic flooding.

"As a jury it is our duty to protect the interest of the public," said Police Jury President Jack Skaggs.

After much discussion, the Police Jury voted to put into place a 90-day moratorium on issuing any new building permits for areas on the river side of the levee.

"The people that are currently living there, or currently have their house under construction, are good to go, but it is the people who have bought a lot and currently don't have a permit, to build that house, would fall in this moratorium," said Skaggs.

The police jury is hitting the pause button on development to wait for the Corp of Engineers to possibly release new flood base elevations and research on the recent flood.

"How soon they could react, I couldn't tell you based on past experiences with the corp, it could take some time," said Bossier Parish Engineer Butch Ford. 

But community member John Michael Moore urged the police jury to not take too much time with the moratorium.

"If it is long term, you could have developers want to go to other locations," Moore said. 

However parish leaders say it is important to wait on the Corps of Engineers, because if they recommend not allowing development on the riverfront, the parish has to listen to them, or face consequences from FEMA.

"If we go off kilter there and start changing rules and things, that don't correspond with their rules, then they could kick us out of the program," said Skaggs.

Bossier Parish attorney Patrick Jackson says if the parish were to allow building while FEMA advises against it, the entire parish could be banned from getting flood insurance.

People living in currently flooded homes are also exempt from the moratorium, if they need to apply for permits to rebuild their homes.

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