Metro Council to decide if group of St. George area homeowners can annex into BR city limits
BATON ROUGE - A Baton Rouge neighborhood is divided in its choice of whether to be a part of Baton Rouge or the City of St. George, and the Baton Rouge's Metro Council is now responsible for stepping in to make a final decision regarding the issue.
The question of annexation is critical because in the case of an emergency situation, for example, it needs to be determined which region's emergency personnel should respond.
But residents of Willow Ridge subdivision, a cluster of homes just west of Bluebonnet Boulevard and north of Jefferson Highway, remain divided on the issue, with 14 residents preferring to annex into the Baton Rouge and 26 residents comfortable with remaining under the jurisdiction of the recently incorporated City of St. George.
According to The Advocate, William Benedetto, a Willow Ridge resident who led the annexation petition, said he finds his neighbor's concerns unfounded and based on false information.
Benedetto explained that he is opposed to the proposed city of St. George, and prefers to live in Baton Rouge, where he knows what to expect from municipal services. That said, he respects his neighbor's right to their own opinion.
"If they want to live in St. George, that's fine. … I'm not offended," Benedetto told The Advocate.
Keith Richardson, the president of the Willow Ridge Homeowners Association, said the neighborhood's governing documents require that annexation requests are first approved by HOA, though an official with the Parish Attorney's Office said the city-parish Plan of Government supersedes any HOA bylaws.
Richardson also questioned how services like garbage collection and fire protection would be split within the subdivision, which is at the intersection of Bluebonnet Boulevard and Jefferson Highway.
These questions will be addressed in an upcoming Baton Rouge Metro Council meeting. Originally slated to be discussed at the Council's Oct. 28 meeting, the arrival of Hurricane Zeta led to the meeting's cancellation.
In 2019 the incorporation of the proposed city of St. George was put on hold pending a lawsuit filed by Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome and several others. Since then, the Metro Council has approved several requests for annexation into Baton Rouge.
Meanwhile, St. George proponents maintain that approving such annexations prior to a ruling is rash. They say that should the lawsuit's conclusion result in their favor, this would necessitate a reversal of the annexations.
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