A large department store near the boundary for the proposed city of St. George has asked to be annexed into the city of Baton Rouge.
Advocates for the city of St. George are gathering signatures for a petition drive as they try to create their own city in the southeastern part of East Baton Rouge Parish. They estimate that if they accumulate 12,951 signatures, those in the city’s proposed boundaries will vote at the polls on whether to create the city.
City Hall over the past few years has annexed several businesses into the city limits as part of previous efforts to thwart creation of a new city of St. George.
The most recent annexation was the Siegen Lane Marketplace, which Metro Council members agreed to annex into the city last year. Most properties in the North Mall Drive complex were annexed, including Walmart and Sam’s Club. However, the Kohl’s store remained outside of the city limits.
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Kohl’s is now asking to join the city limits as well. The store submitted a petition in March asking to be added to the city-parish, and the Metro Council is expected to vote on their request later this month.
A new state law prohibits City Hall from annexing any more from the proposed city’s boundaries land while the petition drive, which started in March, is ongoing. Kohl’s, however, sits inside of a square of land in southeastern Baton Rouge that was excluded from St. George’s proposed boundaries.
City-parish Chief Administrative Officer Darryl Gissel said that pulling Kohl’s into the city’s boundaries is part of the completion of the Siegen Marketplace annexation as a whole.
“This doesn’t have anything to do with the St. George petition effort,” Gissel said. “This is just part of the process that was done earlier.”
Gissel said that the Lowe’s Home Improvement store in Siegen Marketplace still needs to be annexed into the city as well. Lowe’s is also not included in St. George’s proposed boundaries.
St. George organizers did not respond to a question Monday about why Kohl’s was cut from their proposed boundaries. The portfolio management coordinator for Kohl’s who submitted the petition for annexation also did not respond to a request for comment.
Other properties excluded from St. George’s proposed boundaries near the shopping center include Cypress Lake Apartments, Tuscany Villas Apartments and properties surrounding BREC’s Meadow Park and Gentilly Court Park.
St. George organizers have previously said that they determined the boundaries for their proposed city based on where they had support for their previous petition drive. Their previous campaign fell 71 signatures short of going on ballots in 2015.
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The city-parish successfully annexed several high-profile tax generators during the previous St. George campaign, which ate away at the proposed city’s tax base. Properties in the southeastern part of the parish that were previously annexed into city limits include the Mall of Louisiana, L’Auberge Hotel and Casino, Cotsco, Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center, LSU research farmland, Celtic Studios and more.