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EBR crafting buyout plan for neighborhood near sewage plant

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Posted: Sep 14, 2011 10:31 PM by Ashley Rodrigue
Updated: Sep 14, 2011 10:31 PM
Source: WBRZ

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Topics: EBR, buyout, plan, neighborhood, University Place, North Waste Water Treatment Plant, Bones Addison

BATON ROUGE- There's a plan in the works to buyout people who live near a sewer treatment plant in north Baton Rouge.

It involves almost 50 homes in University Place, near Southern University, but there's no price tag yet.

People in the neighborhood say the treatment plant stinks and hurts their quality of life and property values. They've complained for years and even took the city to court, but lost. Now, the city is searching for ways to make amends.

The Parish Attorney's Office released a report Wednesday that lays out how the city-parish will buyout three blocks of homes under the shadow, and the smell, of the plant, today.

The buffer zone project could be covered as a part of the parish-wide sewer infrastructure program already in motion, and already paid for by a tax, if the EPA gives the okay.

It's a new approach the neighborhood's councilman thinks is creative.

"I think it gives us at least one more step, one more option in our arsenal to say that we are moving in the right direction to try to get the citizens, to the best we can, out of this condition," said EBR Councilman Bones Addison.

But despite a plan showing progress, and more potential than previous ones, the lack of a buyout price has many stalling their full support.

"We need to see dollar amounts because we need to make the people of the community satisfied because they've gone through enough," said homeowner Greg Mitchell.

"I think the citizens of the area still expect reasonable compensation for their residence and properties and we need to be sure that that is a plan that is at least taken into consideration," said Addison.

But something is better than nothing to the people in University Place. They just hope it becomes something worth-while soon.

"I won't say they're trying to do their best because the battle has been so long and rough, but at the end, maybe I can say they helped us," said resident Johnnie Stewart.

The EPA is expected to decide on the method of payout in the next few weeks. Regardless of that answer, Councilman Addison wants the Parish Attorney's Office back at council with the report in two weeks.

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