Private drive maintenance falls by the wayside, up to property owners to fix
BATON ROUGE - A private drive between duplexes and fourplexes is in dire need of repair. Monday, 2 On Your Side learned it has been repaired multiple times and maintenance falls on the property owners.
The bumpy private drive is off O'Neal Lane in Baton Rouge, between Derby and Manchester Avenues. The path allows tenants to access their carports and offers parking to those who live there. It's also where the garbage is collected. It's riddled with deep craters that have a history of causing car damage.
Deidre Delpit purchased a duplex on Derby Ave. about 15 years ago. She says it was a lot different back then.
"When I invested in this area I had a street. I had somewhere to park," Delpit said.
Now, carports backing up to the private drive are empty because the road is too bumpy to get there. Instead, they park on both sides of Derby Ave., which creates a narrow pathway for traffic to enter and exit.
"I just want to see something done about it. I'm sure the rest of the neighbors would also," Delpit said.
Monday, 2 On Your Side learned something has been done. The Manchester fourplexes are managed by an estate overlooked by Baton Rouge attorney Ben Melancon.
"We've noticed it - we've repaired it on three different occasions and paid for it out of my pocket," Melancon said.
He tells WBRZ the private drive has been completely torn up and repaired each time. Other times, potholes have been filled with loose gravel. Melancon says the City-Parish even pitched in a few times but now refuses since it's private property. Each time repairs were made, Melancon says the property owners on the duplex side didn't pitch in.
"We've tried to contact the individual owners if we knew them if we didn't we asked the tenants to please contact the owners to get in touch with us but so far no contacts have been made," he said.
It's why The Manchester estate is unlikely to make repairs again. Melancon blames the garbage truck for repeat problems.
"It's tearing the street apart," he said.
Republic Services says the tenants in this area used to put their carts to the curb on O'Neal Lane. That system used to hold up traffic and created a safety issue with carts blowing in the street, which is why it changed to a dumpster approach.
Metro Councilman Dwight Hudson says it's an issue he and late councilman Buddy Amoroso discussed several years ago. During road construction, dumpsters were put there. Hudson says tenants complained about the long walk to the dumpster, so they compromised with cart service in the private drive. The company services carts in private alleys all over the parish.
"A driveway should be built to withstand a truck riding on it, or a school bus," Hudson said. "It's poor maintenance of their driveway."
So far, there's no popular solution. Delpit is interested in speaking with her neighbors to see if they will pitch in, but without an HOA it will take some time.
Republic Services tells WBRZ it is willing to work with the property owners on either side.