Land previously the subject of fierce debate has been conditionally recommended for a new 106-unit neighborhood after the developers' first proposal was shot down.

The city-parish Planning Commission on Monday also gave its nod for a rezoning request for an unrelated development in Inniswold.

The area of South Tiger Bend Road had once been proposed as so-called cluster development known as Timber Ridge. Neighbors complained it would have allowed developers to skirt density rules by squeezing 281 houses on one side of the property to put a hunting club on the other, and the fight got so heated that after the plan was rejected, the city-parish just deleted its cluster rules.

The new subdivision, to be known as The Sanctuary, calls for 106 houses on 77 acres. Lots range from about a third of an acre to a full acre. Developer Corbin Ladner said home buyers want more options for customized houses in south Baton Rouge, and the neighborhoods aims to fill that niche. His family will live on an estate in the area that was once proposed for the hunting club.

Local Metro Councilman Dwight Hudson didn't take a side but attended the meeting to report that since the changes, most of his constituents were on board with the new plan, though several came out Tuesday to raise questions about the effect on the floodplain. They played a short video showing their own neighbor's homes that flooded in August and had to be demolished. They implored the commission to reject more construction so close to the Amite River.

Commissioners pressed developers on the issue. The developers responded they would leave a net 10 percent drop in the soil fill, giving water a bit more room to flow when the river rises.

The Planning Commission approved the design but only after adding stipulations. The developers must keep that 10 percent promise and meet certain requirements about a fence and ditch. The issue will now go to the Metro Council for final approval.

Drainage was also a concern in Inniswold, where a property owner asked the Planning Commission allow him to build more houses on undeveloped land than is currently allowed. The developer asked to build up to 75 houses in the neighborhood near the Bluebonnet corridor where only a maximum of 42 has been allowed.

Neighbors said they knew new houses were coming, they were just shocked to hear the number. A crowd came out to ask the Planning Commission to deny the request without at least a look at the effect on drainage. 

They were also worried about new traffic in their backyards. They meant it literally, as the new houses are to be in two enclaves surrounded by existing houses.

Metro Councilman Matt Watson said he's been working with the city-parish's maintenance staff to address the existing drainage issues. Developer Josh Rivet's attorney Steven Duplechain said the developer has agreed to take on some of those expenses, like clearing ditches — problems he noted precede the new houses.

Duplechain also said it would be putting the cart before the horse to perform a drainage study without knowing how many houses can be built. Planning Director Frank Duke agreed with the point, saying there already appear to be compliance issues on the broad conceptual plan, so the final design will continue to be revised and subject to public hearings and votes by the commission and the council. Once all the roads and utilities and other infrastructure are in place, the 14-acre property can hold maybe 59 houses, he estimated — but even that may be high, Duke said.

The Planning Commission recommended the rezoning, which will now go to the Metro Council for approval.

Follow Steve Hardy on Twitter, @SteveRHardy.