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Metro Council approves first annexation requests since St. George vote

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BATON ROUGE - The East Baton Rouge Metro Council heard the first batch of annexation requests, Wednesday, since voters approved to incorporate St. George. Eight commercial properties along United Plaza Boulevard off of Essen Lane requested annexation into the City of Baton Rouge. 

"This is not a question of anything to do with St. George and who might be involved with the St. George administration." United Plaza's managing partner, Charles Landry said. "We would rather maintain the status quo."

All eight requests were approved. However, in the debate leading up to that decision St. George leaders argued it was too soon for the Metro Council to take up annexation requests.

"It's premature for Baton Rouge to consider annexation," St. George spokesman, Andrew Murrell, said. "As a group who loves to commission studies, there has not been a study done to determine the impact on the City of Baton Rouge from annexing additional properties."

Tempers flared at times during the debate, mostly coming from councilmembers divided on if St. George had any relevance when it came to the annexation requests.

"The City of St. George has nothing to do with this item of annexation," Councilwoman Donna Collins-Lewis said. "That is my decision as mayor pro tem and I'm going to stand with that and I'm going to ask everybody in this room and on this body to be respectful."

"I would say that these issues are absolutely connected," Councilman Dwight Hudson said. "We would not be talking about annexation if it weren't for the City of St. George."

The Parish Attorney's Office says while the incorporation process is tied up in court, St. George is not yet a reality.

"This group of individuals as of today, January 8, 2020 are in an unincorporated area of East Baton Rouge Parish seeking annexation into the city limits of Baton Rouge," Parish Attorney, Andy Dotson, said. "By all intents and purposes that application has met the statutory requirements and is before this council to vote as to whether or not they approve."

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