Gov't

Six Questions for the Candidates

By  | 

These six questions were sent in with the request that the questions be made available for the candidates to read and answer. We invite the candidates for the March 27 election to take a moment to respond to these quetions in the comments section at the bottome of the article, as we would like to encourage open communication between Central citizens and their government.

1- Are you in favor of a city life in central or of a 7 mile drive to enjoy city living?

2- Are you in favor of the landscapes vision or of concrete buildings through the city of Central?

3- Where would you like the business/city center to be located?

4- How big will the corner of Wax Road and Sullivan be allowed to grow?

5- How would you protect the house value and safety of neighborhoods in growing areas? (Some neighborhoods in Central are experiencing a rise in thefts, etc.)

6- How would you protect the subdivision near Wax Road and Sullivan specifically- so thier children continue to enjoy a safe neighborhood?

5 Comments

  1. beth

    March 5, 2010 at 9:28 am

    Councilman Moak had already responded to these questions in response to a comment on a previous post. I am reposting his answers here:

    1. I am in favor of bringing in the business and services that the citizens want and need in Central. I hear so many times I wish we had this or I wish we had that so I would not have to drive into Baton Rouge or Denham to get something. From a residential stand point we as a Council stand by the Country living in the City. We have worked to slow down the huge subdivision developments in Central through quality planning and zoning. Reducing the number of homes per acre, restricting apartments and multifamily dwellings. All these things are what the people wanted to protect Central from rapid growth and over use of what infrastructure we have right now.

    2. I am in favor of the landscape vision for our City. Can we keep every road in Central a two lane road NO, but we can keep our unique identity through designs of quality roads. In our planning we are trying to move to setbacks in construction so that we have the parking in the rear of our developments with landscaping in the front so you don’t just see a building with a parking lot all down the roads in Central.

    3. If this is a heart of Central question, I will tell you I’m old fashioned in this answer but to me the heart is Sullivan and Hooper. I would love to see City services and businesses grow and flourish in this area. I would also like to see the high school return to its roots at this intersection.

    4. Truly not sure how big it will get, with wal-mart there (which I was not in favor of that location) and the strip center on the other side of Wax Road there is a lot there now. With that said all the developments there were designed and put in before we became a city. With the development across Sullivan Road where Canes is the developer is working with the City of Central to design it with the improvements I spoke about earlier. He has gone to great lengths to design everything in a new fashion for Central. From the architecture of the buildings to the parking and green space.

    5-6. If I may I would like to answer number 5 and the second half of 6 in this answer. If I am thinking of the correct subdivision I do believe you have a neighborhood watch program in place and a home owners association. If you do not the City will be more than happy to work with you to begin one or both programs. These problems you are referring to you as a subdivision residence and with the City can work with the Sheriff’s office to help curb these things by working together like we have done in Central Woods to help those residences. I would also be more than happy to get input and ideas from your subdivision on these issues.

    B. On your home values question I believe with the plans we are working on for the City of Central through master planning and controlled growth we can maintain all our home values.

    Aaron Moak

    Now I would like to apologise to everyone for all the typos and possible grammer errors. I never said I was the best typest in Central but wanted to answer the questions for Mrs. Brenda.

  2. Lucky Ross

    March 6, 2010 at 8:17 pm

    1) This is going to be determined by what you mean by “City Living”. While I cherish the lifestyle that we enjoy in Central, I realize that we have to travel outside of Central to purchase 70% of the goods and services that we consume. This alone is costing our city literally millions of dollars each and every year. In order to overcome this situation we are going to have to bring additional retail and service oriented businesses to Central. Consequently, we wont have to drive the 7 miles. I would much rather have the opportunity to purchase these items here without making that trip.

    2) Absolutely, I am in favor of the landscaping that you refer to. This (to me) is what Central is all about. The greener the better. Anything that we can accomplish through landscaping to beautify our buildings and our city is a big plus.

    3) Our city has spent a terrific amount of time and resources in an attempt to plan our city so that it will accommodate the wishes of our citizens while recognizing something called “smart growth”. This plan is called Our Master Plan. We have held workshops – We have employed the services of Moore Planning Group – We have received grants that brought in planning specialists from across our nation to study this very issue and others. Their findings indicate that the area of Hooper & Sullivan road is best suited to be our Town Center. I have to go with the results of all this work and pick that area as my choice.

    4) I don’t have a precise answer to this question because there are many variables that are so uncertain at this time. The actual “corner” at this intersection probably wont change. There is an issue with surface rights on the property at that intersection that is going to dictate how many more businesses will be allowed to locate there and how soon the developer will be able to develop it. I can say that if and when the land becomes available this area will be an asset and a quality development with a tree lined boulevard and landscaping. The developer has committed to this and the city will accept nothing less.

    5) I firmly believe that subdivisions and neighborhoods can effectively protect or enhance their property values through neighborhood or subdivision homeowner associations. These areas can collectively unite their resources and ideas while maintaining an environment conducive to enhancing these values. As far as new developments, these will only be allowed as a PUD or SPUD (Planned Unit Development or Small Planned Unit Development). This tool will allow your city to guarantee that only quality developments will be permitted. Consequently, property values will be protected.

    Safety in our neighborhoods and subdivisions can be enhanced through an organized Neighborhood Watch Program. In the early 80’s we were having a severe problem with break-ins and theft in Morgan Place Subdivision. Along with several other concerned neighbors, I organized a watch program with the assistance of the Sheriff Department. Immediately the problem was solved. Collectively, we (the residents) became more aware of activities throughout the subdivision. Any and all suspicious movement was reported and the break-ins stopped.

    6) I am not quite sure what subdivision that this is referring to or what problem the residents are experiencing. My daughter recently lived in Biltmore with two of my grand kids and I am not aware of any negative situations there. Consequently, I refer this question to my answer to the second part of No. 5.

    Thanks for affording me the opportunity to address your questions. I am very passionate about your concerns and the future of our city with reference to these quality of life issues. These are the reasons that we live where we do, and these are the reasons that we incorporated. Together we can build a great city for all to cherish. WE CAN. WE MUST. TOGETHER WE WILL.

    Your Councilman,
    Lucky Ross

  3. Mike Mannino

    March 8, 2010 at 7:49 am

    1- I am not in favor of any more development or construction that taxes our infrastructure further and will not vote to approve anything that does. We have turned Wax Road and Sullivan into a worse bottleneck than it already was. This is not to say that there are not areas that we can afford to allow more development of the right type. What concerns me is that people are under the false impression that the “Master Plan” will be the answer to these problems. It wont. It is nothing more than a guide and it does not address the question of what infrastruture should be in place before allowing the suggested development. We have allowed developers to hire their own engineers to perform impact studies that always suggest that a project is viable and this is a conflict of interest. Anyone that has to sit in a traffic on a daily basis knows we have a problem. In addition, we have not seen the affects of this development on our flooding as we have not had a major rain event of the magnitude we had in the mid 90’s. When we do, we are in for a shock.I moved here over 30 years ago to get away from some of the things we are doing in Central. I have to ask the question of those that want Central to grow, why did you move here in the first place ? If you wanted a place where you had everything you needed within a 5 mile radius, there are better locations. However, with that comes all the problems that it creates. Traffic, crime, taxes and a lower quality of life.
    2-I am in favor of a building code similar to the Woodlands in Houston. Any commercial development is shielded by a green belt of trees with driveway openings. Instead of clearing every tree on a piece of land, developers are required to protect as many mature trees as possible. With the beautiful liveoaks we have, we need to do something to prevent them from being replaced with concrete.
    3-This needs to be a decision based on where we have the proper roads in place and where we will have the least impact on flooding as it grows. Discussions I have heard on this subject totalally ignore these 2 critical items.Currently, the only area that meets this criteria is the Joor corrider.
    4-This intersection has reached its capacity until 3 things are done. First, the bottleneck in Denham needs to be addressed. This is in progress but will be at least 5 years until completed. Second, Wax needs to be widened, or Hooper extended over the Amite to lessen the load. However, be aware if the traffic count is less, it wont be as attractive for developers on Wax. And finally, Sullivan needs to be widened, again in progress but a good 5 years away. Simple answer, a moratorium on building in this area should be observed.
    5- One of the main planks in my platform is increasing police presence in Central. You can debate how we do it but we either need to add Sheriffs Deputies that are dedicated to Central that we will have to pay for, or start our own force. I would prefer that we start our own force because the Sheriff will tend to move resources to areas that have more crime such as the outlying areas. I have a plan to pay for this by taking some of the property taxes we pay that we dont receive and starting a court system that will collect fines that currently go to EBR. So we can do this without raising taxes !! Bottom line, this is the number 1 responsibilty of government.
    6-I’m going to assume your are referring to Central Woods. This is an example of what can happen if we are not careful with development. I lived there when this first opened. It was a community where many of the residents owned their apartment and maybe rented out one half. It has since become a problem area because of the low rents and lack of un-willingness of the residents to report crime for fear of retaliation. Again, a more robust police presence along with community involvment is the only way to address this. This can become a vibrant area with the right support from the community.

  4. jr. shelton

    March 9, 2010 at 10:14 am

    I had actually talked to “JustBrenda” who I believe first posted these questions by phone a week ago, but I am happy to recap my answers here.

    When we became a city, we took it upon ourselves to be certain that we can provide for our citizens things to sustain us. With that, businesses will come to Central to provide goods and services to do that. I do believe however, that through careful planning we can attain businesses and not lose our “rural fabric”. Certain areas have already added to what some call a concrete jungle, but in the future I believe we can better plan to add these businesses in a more conducive way to our lifestyle.

    Landscape vision is a great goal, but already our city has allowed development without this in mind. Along Wax Road, new businesses have sprung up that do not adhere to this concept. In fact, I can’t recall any new buildings that have been built with this in mind. It is very difficult to adhere to this landscape philosophy in existing developments. But, in brand new projects this planning can be easily implemented.

    Our city center is an area that I believe we have all assumed would be Hooper and Sullivan. This seems logical as through the years it has been the hub of activity for Central. Should it be a new area? There are some legal conflicts that could prevent the development of this corner into the city center. Perhaps a new area could be developed but it would not be in what has been traditionally called the “heart” of Central. Hopefully, good ideas will come from the citizens about where they would hope this could be located.

    The corner of Wax and Sullivan is already turning into Jones Creek Road in Baton Rouge. The new development behind Cane’s is however, one that will be a model for future development in this area. Goods and services are needed for Centralites and this area seems to be natural for this type of growth. However, I would hope future developments would mirror the style and substance of what is being built around Cane’s now.

    The safety and welfare of any neighborhood is paramount for any city. Property values decline if safety declines and homes are allowed to fall into disrepair. I would work to insure a strong presence of law enforcement, both our own police and the Sheriff’s Office, to be certain our families are protected and allowed to enjoy thier homes. I think the city would need to move swiftly to correct any blighted property to be certain that both safety and property value issues are addressed. I would hope to work with the owners of these properties to improve the condition of the buildings and work with any new developers to be sure proper restrictions are put in place with new neighborhoods to protect property values. I hope this answer addresses questions 5 and 6.

    Thank you for this opportunity to answer questions that are of concern to our citizens.

  5. Wayne N Messina

    March 9, 2010 at 1:58 pm

    1) I am in favor of the City Life.. I do not like the idea of having to drive 7 miles to shop when I would much rather spend my money in the City of Central.. 2) I am in favor of the Landscape Version because I love trees, shrubs and flowers.. There is a delicate balance between growth, concrete buildings etc.. Too much growth tends to eliminate the Landscape Version.. 3) I have always thought the Business Center would be located at Sullivan and Hooper.. I just think it is a beautiful place.. 4) right now I believe that we are doing it right. Canes is a beautiful building, and hopefully the growth will not out grow our traffic patterns.. 5) House values and Safety of neighborhoods I believe can be protected by having Restrictions for the neighborhood.. 32 years ago this is exactly what we did in Oak Shadows Subdivision.. We recorded these restrictions with the Clerk of Courts Office and we follow those Restrictions.. We have an unofficial Neighborhood Watch Program and we watch out for one another.. We have Single Moms, Widowers, and families that live within.. We feel safe because we keep everyone informed of the daily goings on.. I would suggest this to everyone. 6) I am not familiar with the subdivision you are asking of. I would suggest that they call me at 261-4771 and I could explain to them about our Restrictions.. Suggestions.. Know your neighbors, know when they are gone, help to watch out for their property, be interactive with one another.. All of these ideas I believe goes a long way towards the enjoyment of a Safe Neighborhood.. Thanks for the opportunity to speak to you and May God Bless You…..Wayne N Messina

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *