Political in-fighting at play in controversial development along Highland Road
BATON ROUGE - A $35 million proposal for a new mixed-use development near the Country Club of Louisiana is raising concerns over potential impacts to traffic and drainage in the area.
But the discussion surrounding the already controversial Aztek Cove development got even muddier Tuesday after a metro council member alleged one of his peers is trying to push through the proposal in his district as a form of political retaliation.
District Three Councilman Rowdy Gaudet tells WBRZ that it stems from a June meeting where he and District 10 Councilwoman Carolyn Coleman were at odds. Gaudet claims Coleman admitted to introducing the proposal — which would lie in Gaudet's district — at a Sept. 27 meeting as a way of getting back at him.
Gaudet said he was told by Coleman in August, "You voted against me at a June meeting. I'm bringing this forward in your district so you never vote against me again."
The development, which was first proposed years ago but stalled due to a lawsuit, is set to appear for council consideration at an Oct. 11 meeting. The development includes "a fine dining restaurant and event center, a breakfast and health foods facility, office spaces, a training center, and a dormitory facility."
A spokesperson for Aztek Cove claims more than $23 million would go back into the East Baton Rouge economy over its three-year construction period.
A public meeting hosted by Gaudet and District Nine Councilmember Dwight Hudson is being held from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday at the Bluebonnet Regional Library to discuss the proposal.
Councilwoman Coleman did not respond to WBRZ's requests for comment on Tuesday.
The Developers of the buildings will have a meeting on Oct. 9 at the River Center Branch at 4 p.m. That meeting is not in the district where the development will be built.
The Metro Council will vote on how the building will be funded on Oct. 11.
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