Jones Creek development fined nearly $100K
BATON ROUGE - A controversial development, the Lakes at Jones Creek, was slapped with a heavy fine for working without permits last month. Although, many nearby residents say it's not enough.
Texas based developer D. R. Horton and Baton Rouge based contractor Five-S Group were notified late January they would be fined $98,110 for their violations, according to documents obtained by WBRZ.
About 420 houses will be built along the creek near Jones Creek Road and Coursey Boulevard. Despite strong push back from nearby residents fearing increased flooding, the development was approved and earthwork began last summer.
Soon after, concerned neighbors reported the developers for working without permits. According to the documents, City-parish inspectors found the following violations:
1. Installation of silt fencing prior to permit: Five days of activity on 0.79 acres, times $1,000.00 per day ($3,950.00 total)
2. Dewatering of existing pond located within Lakes at Jones Creek First Filing boundary, and discharging silt-laden water directly into Jones Creek: 26 days of activity on 3.20 acres, times $1,000.000 per day ($83,200.00 total)
3. Clearing land and removal of trees: Eight days of activity on 1.37 acres, times $1,000.00 per day ($10,960.00 total)
4. TOTAL OF FINES FOR THE ABOVE NON-PERMITTED ACTIVITIES: $98,110.00
Many nearby residents who flooded in 2016 want the developers to face stiffer penalties.
"They dumped dirt into Jones Creek, this is the waterway that dumped eight feet of flood water on my property," said resident and activist M. E. Cormier.
"The property itself is 175 acres. So with 26 days at $1000 fine a day, they had a potential of being fined $4.5 million dollars," she added. "The $98,000 fine is quite a distinct difference."
Once built, the more than 400 houses in the development will sell in the $300,000 range. The $98,110 fine amounts to about one-third of just one house.
D. R. Horton has yet to respond with a comment to this story. Home builders in the capital region have said their developments are built to code. They say major drainage projects and regular maintenance are what's really needed to fight flooding.