Shenandoah homeowners raise concerns over proposed subdivision

Published: Aug. 22, 2017 at 8:22 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 22, 2017 at 10:40 PM CDT
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Source: WAFB
Source: WAFB
Source: WAFB
Source: WAFB
Source: WAFB
Source: WAFB
Source: WAFB
Source: WAFB

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - 9News has learned a local developer has big plans for Baton Rouge's Shenandoah neighborhood.

If the plans are approved, it will become the largest subdivision in East Baton Rouge Parish in recent history, but some longtime homeowners in that neighborhood say it has them worried.

The land has been cleared. The road has been widened. Jones Creek is ready for development, but many folks who live nearby are saying, "Not so fast."

Keith Schultz, president of the Shenandoah Hills Homeowners Association, says residents are sounding off on social media. Their neighborhood is right across the street from a proposed 425 lot neighborhood called The Lakes at Jones Creek. The area was under water during the August flooding of 2016. Schultz says a lot of the houses in his subdivision, and several others in the area, took on water too. He's concerned a new subdivision will only make matters worse next time.

"I know it flooded, so it has to be built up to protect those new homes, and once you do that, the water has to go somewhere else, and naturally we think it will come this way," said Schultz.

Shultz's neighbor, John Tassistro, says he's worried about the flooding too, but he says he can't wrap his mind around the extra traffic that will likely come with a subdivision that size. "I have deep concerns," said Tassistro.

Tassistro says Shenandoah Hills has become a popular cut-through for people looking to avoid South Harrell's Ferry or Coursey Blvd. during peak traffic hours. He says if the main entrance to the proposed subdivision is built right across the Jones Creek Rd., it could spell traffic problems for the hundreds of homeowners trying to exit their neighborhoods.

"Are they going to put a red light? Are they going to move it to the end, or put a fence on this end? Are they going to have drainage inside their subdivision," asked Tassistro.

So far, homeowners say no one has answered their questions. "How is this going to affect us," asked Schultz.

Councilman Buddy Amoroso hosting a neighborhood meeting Tuesday evening at the Jones Creek Library. Dozens of concerned homeowners showed up to voice their displeasure.

The developer, Steve Duplechain, said he did not expect so much opposition this early in the process. He said the proposed plan is solid and backed by science.

"We are convinced based on the engineering that we've done that the flooding will be contained within the property. It's not going to increase the impact to them at all," Duplechain said.

M.E. Cormier, president of the Woodland Ridge Homeowners' Association, said the plan is flawed and vowed to pack next month's Planning Commission meeting with concerned neighbors.

"Retention ponds over time develop debris and become less efficient, and that is guaranteed to happen and will continue to happen no matter their drainage system, no matter their engineering studies," Cormier said.

The Planning Commission is set to vote on the proposed subdivision at its meeting on September 18.

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