University Place neighborhood to be moved

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Friday, November 4, 2011 - 9:38am

It's been a long time coming, but the East Baton Rouge City-Parish finally has concrete plans to get people out of the University Place neighborhood, and far away from the stench of the nearby North Wastewater Treatment Plant.

"The citizens have been crying for this for years," said Gregory Mitchell, an advocate for residents, "asking for help."

To get people away from the oppressive and potentially harmful odors coming from the wastewater treatment plant, the City-Parish plans to buy nearly fifty pieces of property, and move the residents into comparable houses. The price paid will be based on a fair market value appraisal, which is upsetting to many of those at Thursday's public meeting.

"Because you have a sewer plant in the area, that diminishes the fmv of the home," said George Francis, whose mother lives in University Place.

Parish officials say they will also pay for relocating homeowners into comparable housing, which could make up the difference of a lower appraisal.

That news is still hard to take for William Weston, who fears he can never be fully compensated now after paying off a 30-year mortgage, plus additions on his home.

"I have paid more than $100,000 on this house," said Weston. "They ain't going to give me 100-something thousand."

The plans call for building a 100-foot buffer zone of shrubs and trees to absorb the odors coming from the plant. The Metro-Council must first approve the plans before appraisals can be done.

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