Developers request withdrawal
In a 9-1 vote, the West Baton Rouge Parish Council denied a rezoning request submitted by Southern Lifestyles Development Company for a traditional neighborhood development (TND) on La. Hwy. 1.
After hearing public comment at the April 3 Planning and Zoning Commission meeting, Southern Lifestyles Development Company requested to withdraw their rezoning request but were unable to so after submission to the Planning and Zoning Commission.
The commercial real estate agent acting on behalf of the Reed property owners asked the council for a 45-day extension on behalf of Southern Lifestyles Development Company, as company representatives did not attend the meeting.
With the 45-day extension, the company would be able to hold public meetings to draw input from the community in creating a more “mutually beneficial” development.
Residents expressed concerns about the impact of the multi-use residential and commercial development’s impact on infrastructure, traffic, water and drainage. Traffic, bar none, was the biggest concern among residents.
Parish President Riley “PeeWee” Berthelot addressed the Council and said he agreed with the traffic concern “100 percent” but did not agree with concerns raised regarding drainage.
Councilman Ricky Loupe, who represents the corresponding district, said the request for withdrawal was an influence on his decision to deny the request, but ultimately the undue traffic was his reason for denial. Councilman Loupe made a motion to deny a request for a 45-day extension on the basis of undue traffic, which received applause from the audience and support from all council members except Chris “Fish” Kershaw. Kershaw made a substitute motion to grant the 45-day extension, which failed.
Councilman Phil Porto said he would not vote for a 45-day extension because the I-10 widening project would not be complete in 45 days, which received a standing ovation from several citizens in the audience.
Councilman Barry Hugghins echoed his concern.
“I understand where you’re coming from but they’re not going to be laying concrete in 45 days, the situation is going to be exactly the same and there’s no point in prolonging this misery, not for you or for me or any of these folks,” Hugghins said.
The developer still has to opportunity to appeal the Council’s decision within 45 days.