August flood leads Baton Rouge to revise its master plan update

Planning Commission staff on Tuesday wrapped up a series of community meetings designed to get feedback for the five-year update to FuturEBR, the city-parish’s comprehensive master plan. The commission staff expects to present an updated version of the plan to the Metro Council for final approval in November.

Originally adopted in 2011, FuturEBR is a fluid document that functions as a roadmap for land use and development in the city-parish. The document is supposed to be updated every five years.

Carrie Broussard, the Planning Commission’s long range division manager, says a number of revisions have been made to address drainage infrastructure in the city-parish, which is geographically located at the end of the Comite and Amite watersheds and includes other wetland areas.

Many Baton Rouge area residents are still struggling to recover from the historic flood last August, and the Planning Commission staff have further revised FuturEBR as a result.

“Our infrastructure element is where we’ve made the most changes since the flood, where we’ve made the most revisions. We have numerous flood-related changes there,” Broussard says. “The land use element we don’t have as much. I think the infrastructure is really where we’re capturing as lot of flood related and floodplain related issues.”

The revised document includes a section that addresses shortcomings of the local floodplain management program. It also notes that critical facilities like hospitals, fire stations and police stations should not be located in floodplain if at all possible.

The revisions are designed to make the master plan stronger, Broussard says. The plan also addresses housing needs, transportation, parks and recreation and neighborhood design, among others.

Public comments collected from the meetings will be posted online, followed by responses to the comments. The draft could be further revised based on those comments.

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—Alexandria Burris

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