How did the Ascension Parish Master Land Use Plan get started?

From 2000 to 2016, Ascension Parish experienced 59% population growth -- the highest rate in the state. This growth has resulted from factors including the parish’s unique location between Baton Rouge and New Orleans and the growth of commuter populations to both of these nearby cities, the strength of the Ascension public school system, and the growth of the parish’s primary industry, which is chemical processing manufacturing. Such rapid growth has resulted in a parish population over 121,000 and still growing. Parish leadership has realized that creating a comprehensive plan and implementation strategy would allow better budgeting and planning for future growth and development.

What is a master land use plan?

A master land use plan, also known as a comprehensive plan, is a guide to development. First, the master land use plan process determines residents’ and stakeholders’ goals and aspirations about how an area should be developed in the future. This desired future is called the vision, and is built around public input. Policy recommendations and strategies are created that will achieve the vision. Leaders then refer to the vision, policy recommendations, and strategies as they make decisions that guide growth and development.

The Ascension Parish Master Land Use Plan is a comprehensive plan. It is called comprehensive because it covers a wide range of topics, including land use, transportation, drainage, recreation, housing, and other important issues. While master plans and comprehensive plans cover a long-term time horizon, such as the next 20 to 30 years, the Ascension Parish Master Land Use Plan will also include both short term and longer term implementation plans.

Who is working on the plan?

The Center for Planning Excellence (CPEX) is the leading expert on inclusive planning for Louisiana's communities, and has recently worked with the City of Gonzales to develop their 20 year master plan and zoning updates. The CPEX team includes Fregonese Associates , CSRS , and DRW Planning Studio ; this team of planners, engineers, and designers has a proven record of gathering public input and combining it with planning expertise to create usable plans.

Why does Ascension Parish need this plan?

The parish’s current land use plan was first created in 1998. Though some updates to the 1998 plan have been made, Ascension Parish needs a master land use plan that is up-to-date, reflects the desires and values of people in the parish, and incorporates recommendations from other plans happening now in Ascension.

How does this plan relate to other plans happening in the parish?

Ascension Parish is separately contracting for a Transportation Plan and a Floodplain Management Plan. This plan, the Ascension Parish Master Land Use Plan, will incorporate recommendations from those two plans.

What is the process?

The Ascension Parish Master Land Use Plan process began in March 2018, and over the next year and a half, the team will gather ideas and feedback through several public workshops, small group meetings, and interviews with community leaders and stakeholders. Everyone in Ascension Parish is encouraged to participate. The input will be reflected back in a vision, recommendations, and strategies that are easy to read and easy to use.

The Ascension Parish Planning Commission and the Ascension Parish Council will hold public hearings on the recommended plan and then will take action on the plan. Once adopted, the parish, planning commission, and staff will have a clear policy framework to follow when making development decisions.

What will be in the plan?

The plan will contain a written and mapped vision summarizing residents’ and stakeholders’ desires for the future, as well as chapters with policy and strategy recommendations for:

● Future land use

● Housing and neighborhood services

● Mobility

● Stormwater management

● Recreation and open space

● Economic development and redevelopment

● Implementation

Will Gonzales, Sorrento, and Donaldsonville be included in this plan?

The Ascension Parish Master Land Use Plan only covers the unincorporated parts of the parish. However, Ascension Parish and the CPEX team are coordinating with each of the municipalities throughout the planning process. CPEX recently worked with the City of Gonzales on their comprehensive plan and development code updates and will incorporate that knowledge into the parish plan.

How can Ascension Parish citizens get involved?

Everyone is encouraged to participate. Workshops, public meetings and open houses will happen throughout the planning process. Please see our Get Involved page for information about upcoming opportunities for input and a record of past public events.

The best way to keep updated is to fill out our Sign Up form to get email updates. You can also call 225-389-7197 to ask a question or give us your contact information.