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EBR may consider moratorium on new development; some business owners see it as right choice

Published: Jun. 23, 2021 at 5:34 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 23, 2021 at 7:44 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - East Baton Rouge’s Metro Council is looking at putting a temporary pause on new developments in the parish, it’s something that business owners and others say needs to happen in order to assess some of the drainage issues.

“Find me a city-parish employee that does not think we have a problem with drainage and flooding in East Baton Rouge Parish, find me one,” says Randy Rice. Rice’s business is just one of the many places that flooded back in May. He got a foot of water in his office and two feet of water behind the building. He says he and 33 other businesses flooded in Camden Park Office, not far from Bluebonnet Boulevard in Baton Rouge. Rice blames the flood water on new development, and that’s why he thinks there needs to be a moratorium. “We never flood. We never flooded after 2016, we have had hotels being built on Summa, apartment complexes, there are two hotels built right now. All of that adds to the drainage and no improvements are being done,” adds Rice.

Randy Rice’s business got a foot of water after the rainstorm in May.
Randy Rice’s business got a foot of water after the rainstorm in May.(WAFB)

Rice says he and others are worried about new development continuing. The East Baton Rouge Planning and Zoning Committee approved an expansion of a business complex just down the road at the intersection of Highland and Bluebonnet. The complex wants to add apartments, restaurants and retail. “It concerns us because that very building flooded May 18th, the church next door flooded on May 18th. I think there were 24 houses in the Lakes at Highland alone flooded,” says Rice.

Nothing is set in stone for the Highland complex, the proposal will still have to go to the Metro Council where they will discuss more about it on July 21st.

We did reach out to the council member in charge of the district about the ban on new development, but no one responded to our request for an interview.

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