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Upscale homes possibly built on property of someone else

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BATON ROUGE- At least two property owners fighting a developer and a subdivision they say encroached on to their property received a big win at the First Circuit Court of Appeal. The landowners claim homes were built on their property.

Their attorney, Alex St. Amant, said the ruling by the First Circuit means some brand new homes may need to be torn down.

St. Amant said as many as five houses, possibly six may have to be removed. That's because St. Amant said the developer built on property he did not own.

In the middle of the brand new Rouzan Development in the heart of Baton Rouge, a sprawling piece of property with a nice sized home is where Alex St. Amant's clients live. St. Amant said the Developer of Rouzan and the city were notified multiple times not to build on their property. They did it anyway and the property owners sued. Almost ten years later, St. Amant says at least five houses in a row in Rouzan are sitting on property that belongs to his clients.

"They are going to have to be torn down," St. Amant said. "The court has ordered that they be removed from the original servitude which is 30 feet wide, and all of them in the way are going to have to be removed."

St. Amant said for years they've sounded the alarm, but no one wanted to listen.

"We appeared on numerous occasions before the City Council, speaking to the powers that be and they all stoically said they were going to go forward with the project," St. Amant said. "We were not entitled to the relief we are seeking."

The ruling by the First Circuit Court of Appeal backs up the fight St. Amant tackled. The First Circuit said, "We hereby issue a mandatory injunction, ordering defendant to restore plaintiff's possession and rights to a 30 foot conventional servitude... costs of the appeal were assessed to 2590" which is the developer in this case.

"Whoever owns them (houses) will be entitled to some damages," St. Amant said. "The city parish may have to pay, or Mr. Spinosa may have to pay."

St. Amant says what's about to be a very expensive problem for the developer and City-Parish could have been avoided, if they would have followed the law.

"The politicians, the city council that had an opportunity to step back and do things properly and legally and not to cause damage to its citizens...those will be the ones that have to pay the biggest price," St. Amant said.

Tommy Spinosa issued the following statement:

"We only just received the rulings and are discussing with our legal team.  This only affects two adjacent property owners to Rouzan.  It does not affect any portion of the next phase nor the community as a whole.  Whether on remand or on appeal, we will continue to bring the vision of Rouzan to fruition within the law."

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