Residents concerned about possible rezoning in Southdowns

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - People around Southdowns are saying they want to keep the Southside residential. They say this after one of their neighbors wants to rezone his property.

It is an issue the Planning Commission is taking up at their meeting Monday night.

People say years ago, when a zoning change was allowed, a neighbor was allowed to sell fruit from his home, now a tattoo parlor is there.

They say its long-term effects like that they don't want taking away from the residential fee.

The property in question is a home at the corner of Perkins and Stuart Avenue. The homeowner, Ben Skillman, wants it changed from single family residential to an ISPUD, a mixed use development.

Warner Delaune, with the Idle Oaks Homeowner Association says he and others are opposed. Delaune says Skillman told him over the summer he has a purchase agreement with two doctors to buy his home, but in order to do so, the zoning needs to be changed.

"The condition of that purchase agreement is that it be rezoned.  So this entire issue is not driven by anything other than a man wanting to sell his house," said Delaune.

Delaune says neighbors are also concerned with the long-term plans of the doctors if the rezoning is approved. He says he's heard they would also do drug rehab there and possibly have an inpatient process.

WAFB asked Skillman to give us his reasons for wanting the zoning on his home changed, he said he did not want to say anything until after the meeting.

WAFB is at the meeting and will bring you the results tonight.

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