Lawsuit puts annexations on hold
BATON ROUGE - Recently-approved annexation requests for the Mall of Louisiana and other properties halted Thursday after a former state representative filed a lawsuit against them.
Woody Jenkins filed suit Thursday to stop the Mall of Louisiana's annexation into Baton Rouge. That halted the annexation process until a ruling could be made.
"The mayor and the council flew by the seat of their pants and their plan has a lot of holes in it, literally, you can't have holes in an annexation," said Jenkins.
The suit named the EBR Metro Council and City of Baton Rouge as defendants. It said because the annexation excludes the main anchor stores it will create a burden on law enforcement. Jenkins also claimed the annexation relied on connecting contiguous properties, but the city did not secure a section of railroad connecting the properties.
Supporters of the movement to incorporate the southern part of the parish into a new city, including the mall's property, said the annexation request was a political ploy to derail their efforts.
But city leaders, who championed the annexation, think the lawsuit doesn't have merit.
"Even if there were legitimate concerns that's not a consideration for the plan of governments requirement for annexation. That may be something that's included in the state statute, but the plan of government does not reference any of those things so it does not apply, he's applying the wrong law," said Metro-Council member John Delgado.
A judge must hear the challenge within 30 days, and rule within five days of the hearing. That ruling can be appealed, and a hearing in that case would be expedited. If the annexation is upheld it would go into effect 10 days after the ruling.
The Metro Council approved the annexation request in May. The deadline to challenge that vote is Friday.