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Judge: High-end Baton Rouge homes must be torn down over servitude violation

6 years 10 months 4 weeks ago Tuesday, August 22 2017 Aug 22, 2017 August 22, 2017 11:14 AM August 22, 2017 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE – Up to eight high-end homes in the Rouzan development should be torn down after a judge ruled in favor of landowners who sued developer Tommy Spinosa for building on property Spinosa did not own.

The WBRZ Investigative Unit first reported on the issue in April. Click HERE to read the original story.

Then, WBRZ found five homes were in jeopardy of being torn down due to the possible servitude violation. An attorney said Tuesday though, it could be between five and eight that may have been built on property that now must be “restored to its original condition” for the rightful landowners. The houses in question are valued around $400,000 each.

A court has until the end of September to determine the time-frame, though a monetary settlement could mean the houses won't get torn down but an attorney said it is up to the landowners to agree to a specific settlement. An attorney representing the landowners said while Spinosa could appeal part of the decision he could not appeal on the matter of the restoration of the servitude because Spinosa's attorneys missed a deadline.

Rouzan is a development on the fringe of the Southdowns area, off Glasgow near Perkins Road.

Today, Spinosa released a statement saying, "I just completed a review of the First Circuit Court of Appeal’s Ruling.  It says 2590/Glasgow needs to provide a 30’ servitude, which we are preparing to do.  Nowhere does it say that houses shall be torn down.  To mislead the community and public in this way is irresponsible." 

Attorneys for the property owners say the ruling from the first circuit clearly states, "the thirty foot conventional servitude runs from their property to Glasgow Avenue." Spinosa cannot arbitrarily create another access point on another piece of property for them without them approving it in some type of settlement.

In April, the attorney for the landowners who argue Spinosa built on their property maintains the only rightful ending is the homes being demolished.

"They are going to have to be torn down," Alex St. Amant said in the original story. "The court has ordered that they be removed from the original servitude which is 30 feet wide, and all of them in the way are going to have to be removed."

Two property owners filed suit against Spinosa. The owners live on a plot of land surrounded by the Rouzan development.

Previously, Spinosa had said this about the situation: "We only just received (in April) the rulings and are discussing with our legal team.  This only affects two adjacent property owners to Rouzan.  It does not affect any portion of the next phase nor the community as a whole.  Whether on remand or on appeal, we will continue to bring the vision of Rouzan to fruition within the law."


Follow the publisher of this post on Twitter: @treyschmaltz

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