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Messages - Lee Longstreet

May 8, 2024 Apx. 9pm - Water out again and right at bath time.

Spoke to Steve Ernst, the local rep. for Magnolia 2 days ago because I wanted to know if the water tower had been disconnected.  It did not make sense to me how water flow would stop unless there was a very prolonged power outage that depleted all of the reserve water in the tower.  He gave me info on how the system is designed to work and assured me the water tower reservoir was still active.   He also said they were going back to chloramine as soon as the new filtration system was fully operational because storage of chlorine on site was hazardous. 

... Well, it looks like we need the whole story because something is not right.  I just texted him and he responded that he would investigate again.   We will see.   ,,, Update: Yep, water back on but boil water alert in effect. 
To sign up with Magnolia for text message water system alerts ...
go to

Magnolia Customer Support: 855-643-8152

Not confirmed but understand from 3rd party that the following is contact info for Magnolia.  Please post a reply if any of this is incorrect, thanks.

Magnolia local representative:  Steve Ernst 985-640-1355
Magnolia Corporate rep: Chelsea Carter 314-380-8546
Magnolia V.P. Cheryl Watts 314-380-8466

Creation of Magnolia Water Utility Operating Company, LLC in Louisiana
(Click Here) to return to Topics / Magnolia Water
April 21, 2024, 03:17:36 PM
Has anyone else noticed that when the power goes out that the water stops unless Magnolia starts their backup generator?  I am certainly not in the know, but this tells me that the water tower has been disconnected from the water system otherwise gravity would keep the water flowing even when the well is not pumping.

I think this is a safety, security and sanitation issue.

... comments welcome
April 13, 2022

Attention everyone:

The aforementioned parties involved in Eden Isles STR's (in my opinion) are absolutely running an illegal operation and at the very least subject to civil lawsuit and per occurrence monetary damages.   

I personally went to the St. Tammany Parish Courthouse in Covington and pulled copies of the covenants for Eden Isles many years ago because I did not receive a copy at the act of sale when we purchased our home in 2008.  All residents should strive to adhere as much as possible to the covenants to preserve the quality of our neighborhood.  You can review the covenants here:

While much has been said about the enforceability of our covenants let me clear up some of those misconceptions.  As originally provided, the covenants designated the "Architectural Committee" (first appointed by the developer) as a stand alone governing authority to be independently elected by the property owners.  This entity is separate and apart from any subsequent formation of an HOA or in our case Civic Association.  Note, a true and legally binding HOA must be defined in the property's deed, or subsequently voted on by all of the property owners and entered into the legal courthouse records.  No one can alter your deed without you agreeing to it. 

Following Hurricane Katrina formalities were replaced by necessities and the Architectural Committee was allowed to disband.  However, that did not cancel the enforceability of the covenants.  To the credit and vision of the developers the covenants included the provision that any property owner had the right to enforce the covenants.  Any property owner can sue an offending party relative to a breach of the covenants.  Such a breach would especially include misuse of a home by running a commercial operation that disturbs the neighbors or the community.   

At the final hearing on the STR issue before the council I entered a copy of the original covenants recorded in the courthouse as part of my statement.  I wanted the council to know that not only did their ordinance clarify that STR's were commercial operations akin to an unsupervised micro hotel but that in Eden Isles that sort of property use was prohibited via deed of ownership since the inception of our neighborhood as of record filed on May 24, 1973. 

In summary STR's are not only illegal but have always been so.  You have the ability to stop this but the offended party must take action.  Unfortunately, in the lack of parish enforcement, you must bring a civil suit against the offending party.   I doubt that someone who's life has been damaged by a STR would have any problem attracting donations to support the expense of court action.  I also think in the case of Eden Isles that a letter of condemnation from the HOA to the Louisiana State Bar Association is in order. 

... Lee Longstreet

- Reference material at , "community", "STR"
- Links may not work from nextdoor.  Copy them and enter them into your browser. 

(Click Here) to return to Topics / Taxes
March 10, 2022, 10:45:19 AM
... letters to the editor - published, Slidell Independent Feb. 2020

Why won't voters approve additional taxes?

I think business minded voters realize that both St. Tammany and the State of Louisiana have the same problem.  The parish and the state both enjoyed the slush of unexpected sales tax revenue following Hurricane Katrina restoration and simply found ways to spend it.  Results were new office space, higher salaries, additional employees and expanded benefits packages.  Then when sales tax hit 10% it was "game over".  Blame that on Governor Edwards.  Voters had enough and now won't vote for any taxes. 

In recent years the influx of new residents less impacted by homestead exemption have contributed to a permanent increase in the tax base.  They have more expendable income and pay more in property taxes.  Again, business minded voters know the parish is receiving more in taxes these days because of population growth. 

St. Tammany is one of the highest taxed parishes in one of the highest taxed states in the nation and yet the money is consumed within it's overhead with too little left over for doing work for the tax payers.  Until recently the St. Tammany parish public works department was rarely seen doing anything in the unincorporated eastern part of the parish.  That contributed to voter apathy. 

Streets had embarrassing potholes and striping had faded away.  They did not bother to change the lights on the interstate and even just let the light fixtures fall off the poles.  It is still a rare occasion to see a public works vehicle, much less doing anything.  And neighborhoods are intimated into maintaining the medians on public streets.  You just don't see that level of neglect elsewhere.  In Jefferson, Kenner and the Mississippi gulf coast you will always see public works vehicles maintaining and repairing whatever is needed to keep public property in good shape.

Several things need to be done to fix the revenue problem.

The first step is comparing yourself to other areas and realizing there is a problem.

A lot of the problem is with dedicated taxes.  "We" foolishly seem to vote that way.  We need an unbiased, non-political, office of independent inspector general.  The inspectors general's primary mission would be to review the allocation and funding appropriateness of the various parish agencies.  The end goal would be a ballot proposal to reallocate dedicated taxes based upon a needs and appropriateness basis. 

In today's political environment it's flabbergasting that so many people do not understand how money is created.  Business creates the jobs and the money.  More business equals more money.  One ignored opportunity would be to develop the Slidell lakefront. 

Maybe it's time to put back on the ballot the issue of a Lakefront Casino as a tax revenue generator.  All too many St. Tammany residents go to Mississippi to spend their excess income.  Let's think about why they go to Mississippi and fix that.  Our residents should be given the opportunity of spending their money at home where it benefits us instead of taking it out of state.  The permit for a casino could be linked to the requirement that they build a beachfront barrier island for public recreation which would also help with storm surge. 

Submitted by:
Lee Longstreet

2022 notes:
Casino proposal failed
Former State Senator Crowe still pushing for Slidell Lakefront development - see
Maintenance issues have improved due to public awareness and push from the Moonraker Island Civic Organization
Short Term Rentals in Single Family Zoned Neighborhoods

Consistent with the Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance short term rentals have never been a permitted use in any zoning district. 

While short term rentals may be appropriate in certain commercial, mixed use and permitted rural overlay areas they are not compatible with residentially zoned areas, especially subdivisions zoned for single family residential use. 

Short term rentals are business operations whereby there is a flow of temporary stays by visitors for revenue akin to the operation of a hotel and as such should be subject to the same plot development standards such as parking, building setbacks, construction standards, etc. 

Problems with short term rentals:

Reality of the short term rental:
Because of the lack of supervision associated with short term rentals and because there are 2 or more rooms in a home, they draw groups that routinely have more of an impact than the typical hotel occupant which is in itself obviously commercial. 

They are visitors mostly coming to party and use the property as a cheap event venue hosting many more people than a home would typically support.  Sometimes it turns into an "Animal House" - boisterous public behavior, live bands or DJ, outdoor drunkenness, cursing, drug use, karaoke, sexually suggestive behavior, use of watercraft with no experience, trespass upon and invading the privacy of neighboring property, block access to parking and strange people giving neighbors that creepy feeling.

Short term rentals are occupied by visitors that have no vested interest in the community and because their stay is temporary are not typically concerned with the impact they have on neighboring homes.   For the same reasons they cannot register to vote.  In the end "visitor" and "resident" are and will always remain different words legally and otherwise. 

Short term rental occupants are visitors and therefore local law enforcement does not have a "heads up" of possible incoming criminal activity. 

Sometimes short term rentals are booked by a "clean party" that passes credit and other background checks only to turn around and invite more in mass to join in.  It is impossible for the booking agent to know the character of these additional guests that seem to just show up. 

Short term rentals are magnets for illegal and unwanted activities.  There could be off-site gambling, drug dealers, addicts, prostitutes, sexual predators, criminals on the run, etc.  Under the short term rental atmosphere Sex Offenders skirt the lawfully required notice to the community as required by Louisiana law yet they are staying maybe 10 feet from your bedroom window with no on-site supervision at all. 

Traffic is substantially impacted by Short Term Rentals.  Because the occupant's stay is temporary they are running here and there to different attractions and to pick up last minute items.  Multiply this by the rush mentality and number of occupants and the amount and nature of the traffic suffers.

Property values:
No family is going to knowingly buy a family home next door to a short term rental, it destroys the single family home atmosphere.  Those wishing to sell after a neighboring home goes "short term rental" will find that only another short term rental will purchase their home.  This spreads like a slow moving cancer destroying a neighborhood. 

Intended Use and Enforcement by the parish:
Single family residential construction most often occurs in high density subdivisions whereby homes are often separated by as little as 10 - 12 feet.  Such close spacing precludes parking facilities supportive of gatherings typically associated with the short term vacationing, partying or event atmospheres.  These same types of gatherings often damage the peaceful family oriented atmosphere protected by zoning ordinance. 

Why are the zoning laws not being enforced right now?  There is nothing more important or personal to a resident than his home.  Not respecting the zoning already in place is not only a violation of law but also a violation of public trust in our elected officials.  Some have said that enforcement is difficult.  I think not. 

Structures are permitted, inspected and purpose built.  When construction is completed a Certificate of Occupancy is issued before occupancy can take place.   Construction specifications as well as its intended purpose both affect the Certificate of Occupancy.  If a structure is subsequently used for a different purpose its Certificate of Occupancy can be pulled until the structure comes into compliance.  If all else fails this is a tool that may be used to force compliance.

If a property zoned as "single family residence" is advertised as a "Short Term Rental", or any other non-conforming use, or a complaint is confirmed then code enforcement simply places a "Cease and Desist" notice on the property.  If that is ignored then a summons to appear in court is issued whereby a fine per occurrence is issued along with the warning that if the violation is repeated then the "Certificate of Occupancy" will be withdrawn and that the power company will be notified to discontinue electrical service until the court is satisfied with a plan that ensures future violations will not occur. 

In summary, Hotels are not only taxed and regulated but have on-site management and security.  Hotels are where visitors belong, not roaming in and out of single family neighborhoods where people are raising their families.

submitted by
Lee Longstreet
June 29, 2021

SUBJECT:  STR Rezoning Appeal 2021-2643-ZC ... A-4 to NC-4

Public Meeting - To be held Jan. 4 @ 6pm 2022 in the St. Tammany parish council chambers on Koop Dr. in Mandeville.

The property at 450 Eden Isles Dr. has been used as a short term rental contrary to zoning that restricts it's use to that of a single family residence. 

The owners have been issued a cease and desist order from St. Tammany Parish but are now appealing for a zoning change to NC-4.  I think we need to consider that NC-4 as defined in the zoning ordinance includes the rights granted within the classifications of NC-3, NC-2 and NC-1.  NC-3 does allow for short term rentals. 

The granting of a NC-4 variance would not only codify STR operations but allow full neighborhood commercial activities.  Please see and click on "Residential Zoning" for a good index into the St. Tammany parish code.  The property in question was not permitted for these types of operations, contrary to our covenants and not wanted in our neighborhood. 

The reason this appeal is so important is that if the variance were to be granted then this would set legal precedent for others sure to follow.  Let's say another home wanted to do STR's, then they too could appeal for a variance citing the zoning appeals board had already given a variance to someone else in the neighborhood.  This would likely spread and destroy the very character of the neighborhood.