UPDATE -ROUZAN

Posted on April 19, 2013

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rouzan entry

Smart growth proponents disturbed by court ruling on Rouzan’s TND status

While Wednesday’s ruling by the First Circuit Court of Appeals nullifying Rouzan’s designation as a Traditional Neighborhood Development was seen as a victory by long-time opponents of the development, smart growth proponents are disturbed by the ruling and fear it could spill over into the planning of other projects and planned communities. “This really concerns me because I don’t know yet what the implications of this are,” says Boo Thomas, director of the Center for Planning Excellence. A three-judge panel ruled that Rouzan does not meet the criteria to be a TND because developer Tommy Spinosa did not have control and ownership over all of the land within the boundaries of the development when it was rezoned in 2008 from A-1, or single-family residential, to TND. Though the Metro Council has since amended the TND ordinance, the appeals court said the changes could not be applied retroactively to the development, meaning Spinosa may now have to go back through the rezoning process. “That would cure the problem but to do so they will have to get it through the Planning Commission and the Metro Council again,” observes Ed Kramer, an attorney and long-time developer who has no interest in the case. “If they are not successful, what happens to what is already built there? It opens up all sorts of interesting questions.” First Assistant Parish Attorney Lea Anne Batson says there are several potential remedies to the situation, including changing the zoning from TND to a Planned Use Development, which is less restrictive than a TND and gives the developer more flexibility. Thomas suggests that might be a solution CPEX could support. But Southdowns residents—who fought Rouzan initially out of fear that it would negatively impact the quality of their neighborhood—are not likely to support a PUD. They say they’d like the property to revert back to A1 zoning. “Hopefully now there will be better legal oversight of the development of the Ford property, and the end result will be something that more appropriately reflects the surrounding residential areas,” says Southdowns neighborhood activist Angela Angelloz. —Stephanie Riegel – Baton Rouge Business Report

Library board to take up agreement with Spinosa again today

A spokesman for Tommy Spinosa says the cooperative endeavor agreement the developer has been negotiating with the city-parish over construction of the long-awaited Rouzan branch library is completed in principal, though details are still being finalized. But as of this morning, the head of the Library Board of Control, which meets this afternoon, says he won’t be satisfied until the documents are signed and the infrastructure surrounding the facility is under construction. “I am disappointed it has not been resolved yet,” board Chairman Travis Woodard tells Daily Report. “I would love to be surprised this afternoon to hear the deal is all done, but that is not my appreciation at this point.” After years of delays, the library board finally gave Spinosa—who is donating to the city-parish the property within his development off Perkins Road for the library and is also agreeing to do the surrounding infrastructure work—a February deadline to either post a performance bond or begin infrastructure work. Spinosa posted the bond, but then the parish attorney’s office advised the board that “posting a bond is not the most advantageous thing for the library,” Woodward says. The two sides have been negotiating a new arrangement in the weeks since. The board will hear an update on the issue at its meeting today, which convenes at 4 p.m. at BREC’s administrative offices at 6201 Florida Blvd. Also on the agenda is an update on the development of the new Goodwood Main Library and the River Center branch downtown. —Stephanie Riegel

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