OAK GROVE — Residents from the Belle Grove and Perkins Oaks subdivisions in northern Ascension Parish agreed Thursday to meet with the developer of a proposed 12-court tennis complex.
The residents and Rein Rod LLC partner Randy Dornier said they expect to discuss reaching guarantees, possibility through a small planned unit development, about uses of the tennis site and how the public would gain access to it.
The facility would be built on 34 wooded acres behind the subdivisions on land along Bayou Manchac that also has a 4.5-acre sewage treatment lagoon under a Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality compliance order.
Parish Planning Director Ricky Compton and Parish President Tommy Martinez raised the SPUD option during a meeting Thursday at Oak Grove Community Center, where the tentative agreement to meet arose.
Compton said that under a SPUD, residents could work with the developers on perpetual restrictions applying to the site, including access routes, lighting hours and uses.
The current medium-intensity residential zoning allows tennis courts, but Rein Rod is seeking a zoning change to mixed use to allow the facility to also have a clubhouse and restaurant serving alcoholic beverages, parish officials have said.
Since the project went before the parish Zoning Commission in July, residents have voiced concerns about what else could be done on the site with mixed use zoning and how to ensure traffic related to the tennis complex does not use their roads.
Lisa Lusco, 48, who lives on Plantation Court, said the tennis courts are the lesser of evils.
Lusco said that residents are not opposed to a tennis facility, but don’t want to be held hostage to the chance that the facility could fail and other, unknown mixed-use developments might be installed later at the same site.
Compton, the planning director, said that while parish planning staff members preferred a SPUD for the site, earlier this year they recommended against Dornier’s move to obtain a SPUD.
Staff took that position because the Zoning Commission was considering repeal of the ordinance for SPUDs and similar projects, Compton said.
That repeal effort has been sidelined by the Parish Council, meanwhile.
A split Zoning Commission recommended denial of the tennis complex rezoning move as an example of spot zoning, but the rezoning has lingered before the council for months longer than usual.
Compton speculated that if Rein Rod did choose a SPUD, it could take seven months before council approval would be granted.
Dornier said he does not think his business could wait that long. He said the company is looking at other sites and may sell the Perkins Oaks Road site, but said he would meet with residents.
Dornier said he already has an agreement for access to Airline Highway and is seeking a second entryway. He said he is planning legal restrictions to block access to neighborhood roads.