Matt wAtson

Southside Civic Association

Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Southside Civic Association

Southside Civic Association Questions for Candidates

 

 

1. SSCA has maintained its position of keeping the southside of Perkins residential

for forty years, what is your position on rezoning the south-side of Perkins Rd from

Residential A1 to commercial?

 

I am aware of the history the SSCA has in protecting the integrity of A1 properties on the south side

of Perkins Road and I would support that stance.  I know that Dr. Rueben Patel has placed an Urgent

Care Clinic at Lee and Perkins which was decided upon through discussions with SSCA. I would

support the policy that would require any kind of change needing a combined effort by all parties and

the eventual support of SSCA to move forward.

 

 

2. SSCA has kept a “no net change” policy on bars (CAB-2) in our neighborhood. What is your position on new CAB-2 zoning along the Perkins Corridor (Glasgow to Perkins Rd. Overpass)?

 

I fully support the 'no net change' for C-AB-2 zonings along Perkins from Glasgow to Perkins Road Overpass.

 

 

3. If and when Lee Drive is expanded, would you agree to keep Lee to 3 Lanes through the neighborhoods from Perkins to the Bayou, with 4 lanes after to Highland, which is the current agreement?

 

I support the current agreement.

 

 

4. Rouzan continues to be developed under ordinance as TND-1-07 Ordinance 15691 passed by the MC in 2014. More recently, SSCA and the new owners of Rouzan have been engaged in a new and more cooperative relationship that is seen as positive by all sides. If any changes are made to the ordinance, do you agree that this should be one that is negotiated and agreed upon by both parties?

 

Yes. Over my years on Council I have seen the very positive change in cooperation between SSCA and the Rouzan development  representation.  That cooperative effort should be maintained for further changes to the TND.

 

 

5. What can be done to enforce the ordinances on rental houses having too many non-related people living there?

 

I have been fighting this same battle in other parts of town as well.  What I have been able to do is engage State Fire Marshall Butch Browning to help with inspections and documentation of these code violations. I will increase the abilities of current employees under the Department of Development so they can do inspections thereby reducing the excuse of being understaffed.  I will expand the Code Enforcement section under the parish attorney by shifting positions so that we no longer have a constant backlog of cases. 

 

 

6. What can be done to better enforce the noise ordinance?

 

Noise ordinance violations fall under the responsibilities of law enforcement. With our current rampant crime rate and having our police service being more than 100 officers short of the number we are supposed to have, I need to increase the number of officers so that we can respond to all crime.  I will reiterate to officers and my chief that all crimes that affect quality of life should be addressed when reported.

 

 

7. What will you do to protect the aquifer drinking water in Baton Rouge?

 

As a member of the Industrial Tax Exemption Committee I championed an incentive to get Industry off our aquifer and instead purify water from the Mississippi.  I am happy to say that much of what I wanted to pass did make it into our Parish's guidelines. 

 

Tania Nyman

Southside Civic Association Questions for Candidates

 

 

1. SSCA has maintained its position of keeping the southside of Perkins residential for

forty years, what is your position on rezoning the south-side of Perkins Rd from Residential

A1 to commercial? 

 

I want the southside of Perkins between Ferndale and Glasgow to remain residential. I’m opposed to

approving additional commercial businesses like Poboy Express, which I love, and even the urgent care

clinic on the corner of Lee and Perkins.

The ideal solution, if I had a magic wand and an unlimited budget, would have BREC or the City-Parish

steadily acquire properties fronting Perkins with a long term goal of creating linear parks that could

accommodate a multi-use path with a sizeable greenspace buffer between the multi-use path and the

five lanes of high-speed traffic on Perkins. Such a multi-use path would allow for alternative forms of

transportation—walking, biking, skating—which would help alleviate traffic and enhance the

family-friendly character of the neighborhood. Imagine residents from Southdowns and the Dales being

able to ride their bikes to the new library scheduled to be built near the Sprouts grocery store. Such an addition

would enhance the quality of life in our area. 

Unfortunately, I do not have a magic wand so while I will remain open to the possibility of a linear park with a multi-use path on Perkins, I recognize such a feature is unlikely. Nonetheless, I will prioritize protecting the southside of Perkins from additional commercial development. My one word of caution is that I do not believe that insisting that these properties remain zoned A-1 residential protects us from commercial development. The urgent care clinic is a primary example of the limitations of this strategy. After sitting vacant for a long period of time, the house that once stood on that corner was demolished. Eventually the empty lot was rezoned in order to allow the urgent care clinic to be built. There are other properties in that block that are in decline as they are understandably unattractive to homebuyers. These properties are likely to follow the trajectory of the lot now home to the urgent care clinic. If we sincerely want to protect the residential character of Southdowns, we will need to find some means other than just mandating all properties fronting Perkins remain zoned A-1. I will happily work with residents in Southdowns to determine the most effective means of protecting our neighborhood from commercial development.

 

 

2. SSCA has kept a “no net change” policy on bars (CAB-2) in our neighborhood. What is your position on new CAB-2 zoning along the Perkins Corridor (Glasgow to Perkins Rd. Overpass)? 

 

I wholeheartedly support the “no net change” policy on bars along the Perkins Road corridor. Many of you may recall that when I was on the Southside Civic Association Board, I worked with other board members and Southdowns’ residents to oppose attempts to rezone properties on the northside of Perkins to CAB-2. Please note that I am not opposed to additional CAB-1 zoning (restaurants) on the northside of Perkins. 

 

 

3. If and when Lee Drive is expanded, would you agree to keep Lee to 3 Lanes through the neighborhoods from Perkins to the Bayou, with 4 lanes after to Highland, which is the current agreement? 

 

If and when Lee Drive is expanded, I agree to do everything in my power as the District 12 Metro Councilperson to keep Lee Drive to three lanes through the neighborhoods at least to the Bayou. I’d prefer three lanes to the light at Boone Avenue with four lanes after to Highland Ave. And I’ll go further. I’d prefer to see any widening project include the addition of crosswalks and a multi-use path set at a comfortable distance from traffic to allow for alternative modes of transportation and to enhance the quality of life in our neighborhood. 

 

 

4. Rouzan continues to be developed under ordinance as TND-1-07 Ordinance 15691 passed by the MC in 2014. More recently, SSCA and the new owners of Rouzan have been engaged in a new and more cooperative relationship that is seen as positive by all sides. If any changes are made to the ordinance, do you agree that this should be one that is negotiated and agreed upon by both parties? 

 

I agree that any changes made to the ordinance should be negotiated and agreed upon by the owners of Rouzan, the Southside Civic Association, and the civic or homeowners association which represents residents of Rouzan. 

 

 

5. What can be done to enforce the ordinances on rental houses having too many non-related people living there? 

 

Several years ago I and my neighbors in Southdowns had to take action to address a rental property that was clearly in violation of the residential ordinance mandating that no more than two unrelated individuals may occupy rental properties. The process required a bit of effort, but it was not unmanageable, especially as we all worked together. Since I became a candidate for the Metro Council seat, many District 12 residents have complained to me about the difficulty they have encountered when attempting to address violations of the residential ordinance in their neighborhoods. I’ve learned that in recent years the process for reporting violations has been changed for the worse. The documentation homeowners are required to provide in order to file a complaint is too burdensome and effectively renders the ordinance unenforceable. I take this issue seriously. If elected, I will work to amend the reporting process so District 12 residents can once again hold accountable those rental property owners who are violating the ordinance. 

Please note that this issue is related to another matter which deserves our attention: the issue of the proposed City of St. George. The best means of addressing violations of residential ordinances is to prevent the root cause. We must encourage a healthy housing market, one that fosters owner-occupied homeownership. Our ability to foster that healthy market is adversely affected by the proposed City of St. George, which will cause our area economic harm. This harm will limit our ability to invest in infrastructure that encourages homeownership within city limits.

For this and other reasons, the proposed city is being challenged in the courts. I support that effort. If the courts allow the proposed city to be incorporated, then I will do everything in my power to ensure the negotiated settlement between St. George and the City-Parish is equitable and just. St. George must pay their fair share for legacy costs and bonded indebtedness as well as for the fair market value for the infrastructure built with City-Parish funds.

 

 

6. What can be done to better enforce the noise ordinance? 

 

Honestly, I was unaware that enforcement of the noise ordinance has been an issue. If elected to the Metro Council, I’ll need to meet with District 12 residents to investigate this problem before I can offer a sincere assessment of the issue and possible solutions. 

 

 

7. What will you do to protect the aquifer drinking water in Baton Rouge?

 

At this time, I think it’s premature to say precisely what I’d do because there appears to be many variables currently at play in the ongoing effort to protect the aquifer. What’s most important is that I wholeheartedly believe that we need to protect the aquifer drinking water in Baton Rouge. In order to protect our water supply, industry should be prohibited from drawing water from the aquifer. If we fail to address this matter, we will be forced to rely on river water for our drinking water, and that poses a significant risk to our health. When Flint, Michigan was forced to switch to river water for its water supply, the results were disastrous. Residents were exposed to elevated lead levels, creating a public health crisis. We do not want what happened in Flint, Michigan to happen in Baton Rouge. We must protect our aquifer.

 

Sharon Broome

Running for Mayor

Running for Mayor

Southside Civic Association Questions for Candidates

 

 

1. SSCA has maintained its position of keeping the southside of Perkins residential for

forty years, what is your position on rezoning the south-side of Perkins Rd from Residential

A1 to commercial?

 

I am aware of SSCA’s long standing position on this. Creative Developments like Idle Oaks across from

Benny’s and the one across from Acadian Village have shown that residential zoning can work and the

position of SSCA has not hindered the value or use of the land. I well understand SSCA’s position and

support your efforts to protect the character of Southdowns.

 

 

2. SSCA has kept a “no net change” policy on bars (CAB-2) in our neighborhood. What is your position

on new CAB-2 zoning along the Perkins Corridor (Glasgow to Perkins Rd. Overpass)?

 

As Mayor I do have one appointee on the Planning Commission. I can assure SSCA that I and my appointee will always take your lead on any new request for CAB-2 zoning changes.

 

 

3. If and when Lee Drive is expanded, would you agree to keep Lee to 3 Lanes through the neighborhoods from Perkins to the Bayou, with 4 lanes after to Highland, which is the current agreement?

 

This agreement was made in our MovEBR Program and it is a position I stand firm on. 

 

 

4. Rouzan continues to be developed under ordinance as TND-1-07 Ordinance 15691 passed by the MC in 2014. More recently, SSCA and the new owners of Rouzan have been engaged in a new and more cooperative relationship that is seen as positive by all sides. If any changes are made to the ordinance, do you agree that this should be one that is negotiated and agreed upon by both parties?

 

Like you I am thankful that the new owners have created a cooperative relationship with the neighborhood it is a part of. I will do all in my power as Mayor to foster relationships whereby neighborhoods and developers find common ground to avoid protracted battles such as the one SSCA faced with development of Rouzan. You can count on my support.

 

 

5. What can be done to enforce the ordinances on rental houses having too many non-related people living there?

 

The high court did rule that our residential zoning ordinance can be enforced. The issue we face is gaining evidence needed for enforcement. We have one current case where a community group provided our enforcement team with a Craigslist Ad showing that the owner of a residential home, zoned A-1, is leasing individual rooms in the dwelling that is non owner occupied. Getting firm evidence such as this gives us an avenue for enforcement. Having the support of residents and the neighborhood associations in helping us gather evidence to prove violations is critical for success.

 

 

6. What can be done to better enforce the noise ordinance?

 

The noise ordinance was modified years ago to make enforcement easier by no longer requiring a decibel reading, etc. Our law enforcement arms are responsible for the enforcement and should be doing so when complaints are reported.

 

 

7. What will you do to protect the aquifer drinking water in Baton Rouge?

 

First, I must say that our water is a jewel of our community and the envy of others. As Mayor I have representation on the Capital Area Ground Water Commission. Since taking office I have closely followed the commission’s work. I am fully in favor of the study underway which should provide us with a clearer understanding of our issues. I will continue to work thru my representatives to protect this key asset. 

 

Running for D12 Metro Council

Jen Racca

Running for D12 Metro Council

Southside Civic Association Questions for Candidates

 

 

1. SS1. SSCA has maintained its position of keeping the southside of Perkins residential

for forty years, what is your position on rezoning the south-side of Perkins Rd from

Residential A1 to commercial?

 

Fostering the family environment of this area is something I am an advocate for and I support

this position.  In the past 10 months, I have built a strong relationship with our Planning Director. 

his relationship allows me to keep HOAs and civic associations throughout District 12 informed

on proposed changes.  I have made our planning director aware of SSCA’s position and he will

keep me informed of any potential development that is adverse to this position, so that we may

state our opposition. 

As your council person, I have voted for the bike path plan (download masterplan here), the

LSU Lakes project (download proposed masterplan here), and have met with engineers regarding

the Lee Drive project (proposed plan design can be found here) Also, I am working closely with other community leaders on the upcoming DOTD project for the Perkins Road overpass, so that we can work towards minimal disruption and a more connected, safe, and walkable area extending from the overpass area down Perkins Road (such as wider sidewalks, lighting under the overpass, incorporation of safe bike paths and crosswalks).  I am hopeful that the State’s plan for a green space project will also come to fruition.

 

 

2. SSCA has kept a “no net change” policy on bars (CAB-2) in our neighborhood.

What is your position on new CAB-2 zoning along the Perkins Corridor (Glasgow to

Perkins Rd. Overpass)?

 

The Perkins Corridor serves as an eclectic mix of restaurants, retail, and residential space that adds to the charm of District 12. I want to continue to foster smart growth in this area and do not foresee any need to have additional CAB-2 zoning in this corridor.  I support the “no net change” policy. 

 

 

3. If and when Lee Drive is expanded, would you agree to keep Lee to 3 Lanes through

the neighborhoods from Perkins to the Bayou, with 4 lanes after to Highland, which

is the current agreement?

 

I will always advocate for the health, safety, and welfare of my constituents. My time on the council has allowed me to develop relationships with DOTD, DPW, and Traffic Engineering. I will continue to work closely with all departments to ensure this plan fits with this area.  I am opposed to four lanes of traffic through the residential space.  You can find concept report and proposed plan designs that include walking and bike paths allowing for safe commute and connectivity here.

 

 

4. Rouzan continues to be developed under ordinance as TND-1-07 Ordinance 15691

passed by the MC in 2014. More recently, SSCA and the new owners of Rouzan have

been engaged in a new and more cooperative relationship that is seen as positive by

all sides. If any changes are made to the ordinance, do you agree that this should be

one that is negotiated and agreed upon by both parties?

 

In my first few months as an appointed Councilwoman, I had the opportunity to meet with Mr. Enquist and residents of Sweetbriar and Whitehaven regarding the Rouzan development.  I witnessed good faith negotiations between the parties and amicable solutions were found. Facilitating and advocating for a continued cooperative relationship is a top priority of mine.  

 

 

5. What can be done to enforce the ordinances on rental houses having too many

non-related people living there?

 

I support the ordinance and I will continue to be an advocate and work for enforcement, but would be remiss to make promises that cannot be kept due to the complexity of proof that is required to enforce this ordinance. After receiving multiple complaints, I did much research on this particular ordinance. As an attorney and public servant, I find it absolutely my duty to uphold the law. The issue that the Parish Attorney’s office has raised with this particular ordinance is that the constitutionality is constantly being challenged (both on the local level and on similar ordinances throughout the country). Also, blood tests, bloodlines, and titles must be produced for enforcement purposes. I absolutely oppose this ordinance if it is to be used to harass and discriminate against nontraditional families, which has also been the case.  The UDC defines family as: an individual or two or more persons who are related by blood, marriage or legal adoption, living together and occupying a single housekeeping unit with single cooking facilities; or not more than two person, or not more than four persons (provided the owner lives on the premises) living together by joint agreement and occupying a single housekeeping unit with single cooking facilities on a nonprofit, cost sharing basis. 

 

 

6. What can be done to better enforce the noise ordinance?

 

BRPD, Code Enforcement and business owners are working together to resolve the noise complaints.  We have requested that extra-duty detail officers enforce traffic and noise ordinance violations.  I have met with City Prosecutors’ Office to ensure that they prosecute violators to the full extent in order to deter this type of activity. 

 

 

7. What will you do to protect the aquifer drinking water in Baton Rouge?

 

Councilmembers have worked to incentivize industries to use purified water from the Mississippi.  I plan to support the efforts of the councilmembers before me and continue to look for innovative solutions to protect our aquifer.