The Baton Rouge Area Chamber has put in a request to rezone 382 acres in Zachary as industrial, a step toward opening up the property for economic development.

BRAC wants to include the land at Old Scenic Highway and Groom Road on the Louisiana economic development department’s list of certified sites. Certified sites are development-ready industrial locations that have completed a rigorous review process from LED and URS, an independent engineering firm.

BRAC has had an initiative over the past few years to increase the number of certified sites. Currently, there are 19 locations in the Capital Region that are certified sites, ranging from the 20-acre Record Industrial Park in Clinton to the 1,542-acre Pointe Coupee Power Park along the Mississippi River in Jarreau.

The goal is to add eight more sites in 2015, said Lauren Hatcher, a BRAC spokeswoman.

“A certified site is prime for multiple uses,” Hatcher said. “The main advantage of a certified site is that the property is ‘shovel-ready’ and can be developed into an operational facility faster than an uncertified tract of land.”

BRAC and LED maintain a database of certified sites, which can be accessed by site selection firms. Economic development officials have said that companies want to know quickly if a potential site can be used for a manufacturing facility or plant. The certification lets site selectors know that zoning, title and environmental issues have been addressed.

The land, owned by Roland Kizer III and Jay Jackson and leased as farmland, is zoned agricultural/rural. The rezoning request goes before the city-parish Planning Commission at its March 16 meeting.

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