Metro Councilwoman Chauna Banks-Daniel is not happy with the way the Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport has acquired land and businesses in north Baton Rouge.
The disagreement stemmed from an ordinance to create a north Baton Rouge economic development district that would give developers there some property tax breaks. The Metro Council put off voting on the ordinance Wednesday because its sponsor, John Delgado, said he needed to pull the airport out of the district’s boundaries.
Airport Director Anthony Marino sent the Metro Council members a legal interpretation of why the airport should not be included in the district, given that it is an enterprise fund that generates its own revenues.
Marino has said repeatedly that it’s important for the airport to attract businesses to its 640 or so acres of undeveloped land because they help the airport bring in money. The airport already offers some incentives for developers on their land.
Banks-Daniel responded to Marino’s email by asking the airport system to stop expanding the amount of land that it owns, and she complained about the way companies on airport land currently are run.
“To continue to acquire adjudicated or private properties around the airport is just plan greedy,” she wrote.
Banks-Daniel said the north Baton Rouge community does not benefit from the businesses that are on the airport’s land, which include the Coca-Cola Bottling Company, All Star Chevrolet North on Plank Road, and ABC Auction Broadcasting LLC on Blount Road.
She said the people leasing airport land need to develop better relationships with the north Baton Rouge community, and that they need to consider the people who live closest to them when hiring. And she said those problems fall back on the airport itself for not doing the same.
“The airport administration can not in good faith, advocate for this kind of interaction with businesses in the Aviation Business Park because they do not model this practice,” Banks-Daniel wrote. “So there you have it, business as usual.”