by Marion Marks
Mr. Ronnie Remedies, the Vice Chair and board member of the Shreveport Metropolitan Planning Commission (MPC), appears to have violated the Louisiana Code of Governmental Ethics, and both Mr. Remedies and Mr. Alan Young, Chair and board member of the MPC, have worked together to harm the City of Shreveport, the employees of city government and degrade the standards they were appointed to uphold and support.
The MPC Board approved a commercial site plan filed by “Raley & Associates, Owner, Mr. Remedies” for the commercial establishment at 1200 Marshall Street and specific stipulations were attached to the application in 2015. The significant issues violated at this building and improvements relate to drainage and landscaping requirements for the structure. The application packet that was submitted also included a previously approved landscape plan for the property that had met all requirements of code and was part of the required conditions for approval for improvements for a new Certificate of Occupancy.
Additionally a finalized site plan package is always required for commercial properties prior to a Certificates of Occupancy being issued – there are NO exceptions permitted! Any tenant, in this case Red River Brewery, would require the property owner (Mr. Remedies!) to comply with all site plan approved items of the MPC Board before they could operate in a commercial building of any type.
In March, 2016, Mr. Remedies was aware of the fact that the Shreveport City Engineering Department would check on the status of required improvements and that the regulations required for drainage improvements as well as the installation of required landscaping (per the plan submitted) had not been completed. It is accurate that there was heavy late winter and spring rainfall and Mr. Remedies was able to obtain a “90-day Temporary Certificate of Occupancy,” for his tenant, Red River Brewery. The Zoning Enforcement Division of the MPC permitted this temporary certificate, something that is allowable under the existing code ONLY for landscaping weather related delays. This Temporary Certificate of Occupancy permitted ONLY an extra 90 days to finalize his plans with the City Engineering Department and he still was required to build the required drainage as approved or needed to get the full approval. It was made clear to Mr Remedies that there was not going to be any further extension granted.
However, at the end of the 90 day temporary approval, the landscaping and drainage requirements were not completed as required under the conditions of a “Temporary Certificate of Occupancy.” And, according to the ordinance the Shreveport Zoning Administrator mailed a Zoning Violation Letter to the property owner, regardless of who it is or what position he or she holds. Mr. Remedies, in violation of ethics code and legal requirements demanded of the MPC an additional exception.
Regardless of landscape revisions from any of the original landscape plans it is the obligation of the property owner or applicant to inform the MPC of any revised plan and to seek appropriate approval. Mr Remedies was informed by multiple city inspectors of his violations and continued to petition for his tenant in violation, again, of both ethics and occupancy laws as well as acting to intimidate public officials. At this point, others should have raised the alarm!
Mr. Remedies cannot remain on this public board based upon these known violations. It is the duty of the city and local law enforcement to pursue appropriate prosecution because these acts were detrimental not only to his tenant, the public and other officials, but the whole system of enforcement and regulation is endangered by such actions.
I believe the whole MPC board, although not having personal knowledge, has been made aware of these violations. I further believe they have acted responsibly, but have been intimidated by Mr. Remedies, and perhaps Mr. Young, President of the MPC.