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Burbank Drive subdivision asking planning commission to OK 100+ new lots

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BATON ROUGE - After similar, previous requests have been approved, developers of Pelican Lakes on Burbank drive are asking the planning commission for permission to add more than 100 new lots to the subdivision.

"Pelican Lakes was started in 2012, and it was part of an 800-lot master development," Art Lancaster, the project's developer, said. "This is the last 114 lots of that."

If approved, Lancaster says the final number of lots would reach 717, substantially fewer than the 800 lots originally planned.

The application comes at a time when new development, especially in flood hazard areas, which includes Pelican Lakes, are facing increased pushback from the public, and in some cases, the planning commission.

"Until I feel like we get the flooding situation in Baton Rouge under control, this is not an area I'm willing to support additional development in right now," commissioner Jayme Ellender said during September's planning meeting.

Ellender was referring to a proposed 11-acre, 60-lot subdivision on Burbank, directly across from Pelican Lakes. The project, at Ellender's request, was denied by the commission.

"Until we get a better understanding and address some of our drainage concerns across that southern part of the parish, we need to look hard at each development," Ellender told WBRZ.

Even though Pelican Lakes would not be required to build to the beefed-up standards installed by the Metro Council last month, Lancaster says they will, should the planning commission sign off on the request.

"I live in Baton Rouge," Lancaster said, "I want to be a good steward of the community. You know, we're not required to do what the new standards are, but we feel building at a 100-year flood, and the ten percent reduction in the flow, is a good thing to do."

Less than a month since that 12-month parish policy went into effect, Lancaster says there are clear reasons why this expansion is needed now.

"A typical, stable market for new housing is five months," Lancaster said. "Right now, we're [at] two or three months for supply. So, there's very little supply for new construction. There's a lot of new employment that they're hoping [for] over the next two years, so we really think it's the right time for this."

The public hearing and vote for the expansion is scheduled for Nov. 15.

Planning Director Ryan Holcomb says staff will submit its report and recommendation Nov. 4.

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