Homeowners in a land war with EBR

Construction on Staring Lane
Construction on Staring Lane
Residents confronting construction workers
Residents confronting construction workers

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - A battle is brewing between some Baton Rouge homeowners and East Baton Rouge city-parish leaders.

The city-parish bought their property to expand Staring Lane into a four-way highway, but residents said their lives are being uprooted.

Mildred and her husband Bob have been living on Staring Lane for half a century. The couple said they have been living in peace and quiet for most of those years. But, lately, it got loud.

"There's a manhole across the street and when a truck or heavy equipment hits it, it sounds like thunder. Sad, it really is. We are living on the street," Mildred Simon said.

Mildred said she has felt her house shake. Her son, Andy, who works in the construction industry, is more concerned with the end result of some nearby roadwork. He believes his parents' home will be flooded with raw sewage, and that the sewerage lines that will run under Staring Lane serving two subdivisions will be overloaded.

"Magnolia Woods and Kennilworth. This ditch will never get to that one to cross the road," Andy Simon said.

Infrastructure is one concern. Safety is another.

"The danger, our bedroom will be right at the street," Mildred Simon said.

The design puts the Simons 27.5 feet from the curb.

"They expect my parents to back out and get perpendicular to the street, 80 plus old, and get in and out of here safely. That's not going to happen," Andy Simon said.

The city-parish expropriated the Simon's land and paid them $52,000. Meanwhile, the couple and a dozen other homeowners who live on Staring Lane have filed a lawsuit alleging the amount is "wholly inadequate and should be increased in supplemental pleadings filed after a full and complete appraisal."

Whatever they would offer us here would not re-establish us anywhere else," Mildred Simon said.

The Simons said the memories they created here are priceless.

The Director of Public Works, William Daniel, said a drainage engineer has approved the plan. He is confident the project will not cause flooding.

Homeowners said they have hired appraisers and plan to sue the city. The project is scheduled to be finished by the end of 2013.

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