Metro Council hot topics: annexation, Rouzan, landfill permit

The Metro Council is expected to consider a variety of hot topics at today’s meeting.

But they will not be considering a controversial tolerance ordinance that has been repeatedly deferred for the past month. Councilwoman C. Denise Marcelle asked that the measure be deleted from the

C. Denise Marcelle

C. Denise Marcelle

Metro Council agenda. She did not answer a phone call or text message, but an assistant parish attorney advised that Marcelle needed more time to clean up the language. The ordinance, likened to the One Baton Rouge resolution from years past, would have banned discrimination in areas of employment and housing based on race, religion and most notably — sexual orientation. No word yet on whether the ordinance will be brought up at a later date.

The Metro Council is also expected to consider annexing three businesses — Costco Wholesale, Celtic Studios and SAIF Credit CelticUnion — into the city of Baton Rouge. Bigger and more significant annexations are expected down the line, as a means for the city-parish to protect its budget from the proposed city of St. George. If St. George successfully incorporates, then it would divert sales tax dollars away from the city-parish budget. If the Metro Council takes a stand against annexing three businesses with a small financial impact, it could mean annexing other heavy weights could prove to be more difficult. Councilman Ryan Heck said the city is close to securing a petition for annexation from the Mall of Louisiana, a lynch pin of the St. George proposed budget. Mall management refused to comment.

The council will also consider a rezoning request necessary for the Rouzan development southwest of Perkins Road and Glasgow

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Avenue. A March court ruling reverted the neighborhood’s zoning back to A-1 residential, and the council will have to decide whether to rezone it Traditional Neighborhood Development. The TND designation allows for smaller lots, and a mix of single-family home, multi-family home and commercial use. Opponents of the development say they will continue to fight if the council decides to rezone it to a TND.

Councilman Trae Welch also plans on taking the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality to task over the agency’s AX096_24D7_9approval of a permit approval for an industrial waste landfill in north Baton Rouge. He placed an item on the agenda requesting that DEQ officials appear at the May 14 meeting to explain why they would approve the permit, despite the repeated objections of officials and residents. He also is asking the council to approve a resolution urging the parish attorney’s office to file an injunction to halt the operations of the industrial waste site.

Finally, the council will consider financing a feasibility study to determine whether it can built another connecting road between Highland Road and Burbank Road. The city is eyeing a Kenilworth extension, however, those plans could require the relocation of two businesses, a school and a small cemetery. City officials say they are also considering extending Seyburn Avenue as an alternative to Kenilworth.