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Baton Rouge development in flood-prone area on hold

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BATON ROUGE - A plan to build 57 houses off Burbank Drive a few miles south of LSU was put on hold Monday night. Members of the East Baton Rouge Parish Planning Commission had reservations about the subdivision located in a special flood hazard area even though it met city-parish building standards.

"There's some hesitancy here. I sense this foreshadows what we will see on Burbank Drive in particular," said Commissioner Rowdy Gaudet before making a motion to defer.

The subdivision, Kenilworth Crossing, is located on Burbank Drive and South Kenilworth Parkway. It's in an area that has seen a boom in development since Burbank was widened in the past decade.

The project is being proposed by development company CSRS with plans to eventually build apartments and commercial buildings at the location.

A retention pond would be dug on site with the fill used to elevate the houses and businesses above flood levels. Some citizens publicly opposed the development at the meeting Monday night.

"I think everyone in Baton Rouge needs to be concerned about what happens in a floodplain. We have to look at the cumulative impacts of continuing to develop these high-risk areas," said resident John Daigle whose house flooded in 2016.

Commissioners deferred the decision on the development for 30 days.

Recently funding became available to dredge and upgrade a number of major drainage ways in the parish. EBR is also working on an updated Master Drainage Plan which could be complete by 2020.

Last year the metro-council approved stricter drainage requirements for new developments. However, a six-month moratorium on construction in floodplains was not approved.

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