BATON ROUGE, La (BRPROUD)- Development at @ Highland is on the way after Baton Rouge leaders gave the green light.
A new apartment high-rise, shops and parking will be coming to the intersection of Highland and Bluebonnet even though hundreds of residents pushed against it.
Wednesday, several residents used their three-minute talking time at the council meeting pleading their case on why they opposed the rezoning.
Residents argued, the area is already terribly congested and construction in the area will only create more problems.
“The zoning should stay the same. Development in a flood zone is irresponsible and unsafe,” said a resident.
The initial plans were a six-story, 75 feet high-rise apartment complex, but developers are scaling back the plans.
They said, since the pandemic a study shows people are not looking for office space as they did five years ago when the plans were created.
East Baton Rouge Metro Councilwoman Jen Racca said, the decision to approve the rezoning was hard.
“The decision was, do we want a general office highrise or do we want an apartment complex with some commercial space. It wasn’t an easy vote, either way, we learned a development was going up,” said Racca.
During the meeting, Walter Monsour said despite arguments from the residents, they were still going to move forward with their plans.
“There is an approved plan. An approved plan to do more than what we’re asking,” said Monsour.
After the meeting, residents said they felt like the council listened, but they are still disappointed in the decision.
“We’re disappointed and I think it’s an indication of a larger systemic issue of things that are going on with drainage,” said President of Magnolia Woods Civic Association Jennifer Dietz.
The council discussed a possible deferral, but ultimately it moved forward with a seven to one vote.
“We didn’t have another option and deferring it 90 days, deferring it 120 days wasn’t going to give us an additional option. It was just going to delay the inevitable,” said Racca.
The council also received more than 400 online public comments opposing the project, but they were not read during the meeting.