Proposed flood plain subdivision near Central raising concerns from neighbors

Once again, a proposed subdivision—this one initially scheduled to go before the Planning Commission later this month—has drawn concerns from nearby residents about flooding, school overcrowding and traffic.

Belle Arbor, a planned 184-lot subdivision near Central, sits in the flood zone, prompting neighbors to express complaints on social media about several aspects of the development, including its location. The commission has now deferred the item to its March meeting.

Some neighbors’ online comments were incorrect, says Nick Fakouri, president of Tower Capital Corporation, the local real estate investment firm developing the site. Some mentioned a 100-acre development (Belle Arbor would comprise only about 57 acres) and low-income housing (homes would be somewhere in the $250,000 range and up). 

Other worries might be more justified, however, like where will the stormwater go?

The subdivision would fall within the constraints of the updated development rules passed by the Metro Council in September, Fakouri says, and would actually over-retain water.

Though the development lies within Baton Rouge’s city limits, it is a part of Central’s school district. Some critics have voiced concerns over overcrowding, but since homeowners in the subdivision will be paying property taxes toward Central schools, Fakouri says it’s only fair that they should have the option to attend those same schools. 

Fakouri also plans to get a traffic impact study done but believes there’s plenty of road for everyone, and that it’s not an overpopulated area.

Planning Director Ryan Holcomb says the developer wants to meet with Central representatives and work out neighbors’ concerns.

Fakouri says he plans to meet with residents soon, but feels confident the subdivision will be passed eventually.

“Sometimes we have to negotiate with neighbors,” he says. “That’s not a bad thing, we work with neighbors all the time. This one just got out of hand because of the bizarre stuff that was posted online.”