Why does it come as no surprise to hear that Judge Janice Clark has ruled that the city-parish’s ordinance forbidding three or more unrelated people from living together in a house is unconstitutional and unenforceable? Attorney Steve Myers is suing the city of East Baton Rouge over its zoning policies concerning neighborhoods zoned A-1 Residential, which according to the Unified Development Code must be occupied by a “single family.” He wants to change the zoning to Mixed-Use Developments. According to Judge Clark’s ruling, “creative kinship networks” common in society are treated differently from the traditional nuclear family, making the code unconstitutional. In other words, Baton Rouge has embraced “Smart Growth”as the wave of the future.

Interestingly, many of us don’t know that “Smart Growth” is directly connected to a 1992 U.N. Conference on Environment and Development, otherwise known as Agenda 21. This plan unabashedly calls on governments to intervene and regulate nearly every potential impact that human activity could have on the environment. This undermines the quality of life, personal choice, and property rights in American communities and is implemented by local, state and federal authorities at the request of special interest groups. These are destructive programs designed to impose land use regulations that would force Americans into denser living arrangements.

As mixed-use rental properties invade A-1 residential neighborhoods, they compromise the integrity of those neighborhoods, by reducing the number of residents with long-term investments in their primary homes, turning what was once owner-occupied residences into rental properties that become eroded by the loss of stability and continuity. In addition, what was once a family-oriented neighborhood zone A1, now becomes a neighborhood filled with noise pollution, increased traffic, transient renters, and the absence of pride and upkeep that has been the mainstay of owner-occupied properties for decades.

These efforts, often described as “New Urbanism sustainable development,” have long been resisted by some members of the community because of their negative impact on economic growth, competitiveness, and our nation’s standard of living.

Rodney Bourgeois

business owner

Baton Rouge