Baton Rouge Councilman Chandler Loupe proposes moratorium on development for section of Highland Road pending road study _lowres

Chandler Loupe

A proposed moratorium would block any new developments, businesses or houses for three months on a stretch of Highland Road while the city-parish studies the road’s conditions.

Mayor Pro Tem Chandler Loupe plans to introduce a request at Wednesday’s Metro Council meeting that would put a 90-day moratorium on development on Highland between Perkins Road and Siegen Lane. The moratorium would also block the city-parish from accepting applications during that time for developers who want to build there.

Loupe said the two-lane road desperately needs a thorough review of its traffic, drainage and other issues. On Tuesday, an overturned tanker truck at Highland and Gardere Lane caused even more traffic snarls than usual.

Though the study and moratorium had already been planned before the most recent 18-wheeler problem, Loupe said, it was another “justification of why” the road needs to be studied.

Despite rural zoning designations to land along Highland Road, residents there have complained to the Planning Commission and Metro Council about the traffic along the roadway. Wayne Stromeyer, one of the most vocal of the Highland Road residents at Planning Commission meetings, said he fully supports Loupe’s proposed moratorium.

“All of that sounds like a good thing to be examining because big, commercial developments are problematic in a neighborhood such as ours,” said Stromeyer, who is the president of the Highland Road Alliance.

One of the biggest complaints of Stromeyer and others in the Highland Road Alliance is that developers can build seven homes per acre along Highland despite its rural zoning designation. The residents tried one push — which is now on hold — to rezone most of the land on Highland Road from Siegen Lane to Interstate 10 so developers could not build more than one home per acre.

The Metro Council has asked the Planning Commission to study rural zoning across the city-parish. Loupe wants the results of the study to become available before any new development goes along the stretch of Highland.

Stromeyer and other Highland Road residents have pushed the planning commission several times recently to reject developments in their area that could cause more traffic. They say they worry about ever-growing traffic ruining their historical, tree-lined neighborhoods.

The group most recently turned its attention to an upscale assisted living home that was planned for Highland Road at Commercial Park Drive. They asked the planning commission to vote against it, with Loupe joining his constituents to oppose it. The planning commission rejected the plans for the assisted living home Chateau La Vie.

Loupe’s request for a short-term moratorium on new developments is expected to be introduced at Wednesday’s Metro Council meeting, but the council will not vote on it until next month.