Proposed levee rules discussed

Troy Lombardo, of Berry Bros. General Contractors in Berwick, speaks during Thursday’s public hearing for the St. Mary Levee District’s proposed rules and regulations while St. Mary Levee Operations Manager Michael Brocato Jr., at right, listens.
(The Daily Review Photo by Zachary Fitzgerald)


St. Mary Levee District officials laid out rules and regulations designed to protect levees from damage at a public hearing before Thursday’s regular levee district meeting.
Levee District Attorney Bill Bourgeois said the levee district is subject to state statutes and is responsible for having rules and regulations for governing the parish’s levees.
“This levee district undertook to put together certain rules and regulations to basically have its own,” Bourgeois said.
The levee district compiled state and federal laws already on the books in “many different places” to put them all in one place, Bourgeois said.
The district plans to eventually adopt and enforce as its formal rules and regulations. Levee District Commission President Bill Hidalgo said the levee district plans to “talk through” the rules and pick up a date possibly in January 2015 to start officially enforcing the rules. “If you’re doing something wrong on the levee, we’re going to bring it to your attention. If it’s something that you’re going to do repetitively, we want you to get a permit to do it,” Hidalgo said.
St. Mary Levee District Operations Manager Michael Brocato Jr. addressed four frequently asked questions regarding rules and regulations for the parish’s levees.
Brocato said permits are not needed for someone to merely walk on a levee. Hunters are not allowed to put deer stands on the levees, which includes up to 15 feet from the slope of the levee, he said.
As a general rule, a permit is needed to drive anything heavier than a loaded 18-wheeler, Brocato said. Any subsurface work within 1,500 feet of the levee would require a permit, Brocato said.
Though the levee district can keep people from driving across the levee to access their property, that is not the levee district’s intent, Brocato said. The levee district is going to put that responsibility on the landowners to make minor repairs to the levee from repeated driving across the levee by filling in gravel or dirt, Brocato said.
Bourgeois said there may be some revisions to the levee district rules and regulations to better explain them. Eventually an item will come up on the levee district’s meeting agenda to set a a date to consider the rules in effect, Bourgeois said.
St. Mary Levee District Executive Director Tim Matte said the levee district also plans to schedule a public hearing to address comments about flood wall rules and regulations.

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