Baton Rouge, Louisiana
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A month after flooding, EBR considers new development projects

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BATON ROUGE - For the first time since May, the EBR Planning Commission has approved new developments in the Baton Rouge area, but residents aren't happy with it. 

"This time we had 216 votes, people sending in notes to the commission opposing this item, next time we'll have a thousand," said Charles Perilloux. 

Residents are opposing the list of new neighborhoods and residential development. That development would be an apartment complex with 240 spaces, along with a shopping area, restaurants and a drive-thru at the corner of Bluebonnet and Highland Road. 

"Between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m. in the morning and 4 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. in the afternoon, you can't get in and out of the subdivision because of traffic in town. Resident Randy Rice says now, they are going to put 240 apartments and maybe 500 cars at that corner of Highland and Bluebonnet and that's not going to affect the traffic?" 

An item to rezone that exact property was on the agenda and approved by the planning commission with a 5 to 4 vote. Walter Monsour with CRSA is ecstatic about the decision reminding residents and the commission that they aren't the bad guys. 

"I have a lot of empathy for them, but it's not this project that's doing their flooding or causing their flooding and the improvement of their property that we intend to do certainly will not cause more flooding to them," said Walter Monsour. 

But with lots of flooding in the last month, residents are wary of new developments until drainage is fixed, and worried it would cause more high water. 

"They can't tell us with any confidence that they can prevent flooding. They can't tell us with any confidence that they'll prevent the deterioration of any traffic. It's a joke of calling Baton Rouge of having a planning commission," said Rice. 

Included in the new development plans is a retention pond but residents don't believe that will be enough.

"You are going to build all these other buildings and run more water into a retention pond, or into Bluebonnet swamp and it's not going to flood again it's going to flood worse," said Rice. 

While Monsour counters, saying they did their part. 

"What a property owner wants to do with his property, is in conformity with the unified development code and that's why we have a code and we adhered to all the provisions of the code," said Monsour.

The rezoning will now go before the metro council on July 21. Also, agenda items for multiple new neighborhoods were deferred for now. 


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