Though they were unhappy to essentially sign the death warrant for an old live oak tree, the parish Planning Commission on Monday waved through a new subdivision in the Inniswold area.
The new proposed neighborhood, Inniswylde, is planned to include 72 new residential lots on about 17 acres just southwest of Jefferson Terrace Elementary.
The commission rezoned most of the property in May and this week rezoned the rest and accepted the preliminary subdivision design. The final rezoning will now go before the Metro Council for final approval.
Land previously the subject of fierce debate has been conditionally recommended for a new 10…
When the issue came up in the spring, neighbors worried about the effect on drainage and traffic, but neither argument swayed the commissioners. On Monday evening, a new wrinkle emerged: Building the neighborhood would mean cutting down a massive live oak.
"That's very disappointing," said commissioner Kathryn Juneau, whose sentiment was echoed by commissioner Clifford Grout.
Steven Duplechain, attorney for developer Josh Rivet, asked for understanding.
"I can't redesign the whole subdivision for one tree," he said.
East Baton Rouge offers developers incentives for protecting large trees, but doesn't enforce any requirements, Planning Director Frank Duke told the commission.
Neighbors again asked the planning commission to consider traffic and drainage. However, the parish stopped requiring traffic impact studies in 2007 in favor of just assessing fees, Duke said.
Duplechain said the developer is adhering to all the existing local floodplain rules and is not requesting any exceptions. Juneau said she would trust the city-parish's engineers.
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The matter passed with full support of the commission, with the exception of Grout, who voted against the rezoning but went along with the subdivision design once the zoning item passed.