I read with frustration the article in The Advocate that reported on the Oct. 19 Metro Council meeting to consider zoning changes.

I was one of the “dozens of residents” in attendance.

The reporter, Rebekah Allen, apparently either didn’t listen to the meeting discussion or received all of her information from Sammy Nagem.

Reporting of this nature does nothing to help resolve this issue in our neighborhood.

Prompted by Councilwoman Tara Wicker’s questions, I heard a discussion that clarified the original infill small planned unit development application, admitting that the proposed rezoning would add only 23 spaces — NOT 45, as the reporter asserts.

These 23 spaces would be carved out of a residential lot — that includes a house — at an angle that would seriously diminish its current value as a residence. The angle of the proposed plan would cut directly in front of the house and calls for an eight-foot fence. Would you buy a house with a fence installed outside the front window?

Also, the reporter states, “This would allow (Nagem) to provide a route behind the restaurant near Kimbro Drive, making it easier for patrons to enter and exit the business with their vehicles.” That route already had been withdrawn before the council meeting, so I can’t help wondering if Allen knows something we don’t.

First, that “route” would be ON Kimbro Drive, which is, as my son says, “the littlest little street you could ever imagine,” not “near” it, as Allen asserts.

Second, putting a restaurant/bar entrance/exit onto Kimbro Drive would significantly increase traffic, noise and danger. We have families with small children on our street, and none of us wants the increased safety concerns created by this new “route.”

Finally, Allen chose to leave out a salient point: Though Nagem owns the property to be rezoned, he does not live there — a fact established at the meeting. Nagem and his family live in Monroe. The neighbors on Kimbro rarely have seen anyone in or even near the house since Nagem purchased it.

Residents in the Magnolia Woods area have been some of Nagem’s staunchest supporters in the past.

Though he has pushed through previous zoning changes, we didn’t challenge them, in part because we had no advance warning. This time, we must challenge his encroachment into the neighborhood because it directly affects our quality of life and property values.

We hope to come to an agreement that allows Nagem to make needed changes — changes required because of poor choices he has made — but Allen’s article only exacerbates the dispute.


freelance writer/editor

Baton Rouge