BATON ROUGE — Residents have sued the City-Parish of Baton Rouge over the expansion of the Mount Hope Plantation House, a plan they say violates the Unified Development Code (UDC). 

The Magnolia Woods Civic Association and three local families have united for the case against the city-parish. 

The expansion project, which was approved in late 2016 by the East Baton Rouge Planning Commission, will see an addition of an event hall, bed-and-breakfast cottages and a garage. However, those opposed to the plan have raised questions about traffic and drainage problems. 

The complaint claims that the city-parish violated the UDC by approving the expansion as a “minor use change” to the facility.

“This is a dramatic change in the nature of the use of that property,” Scott Frazier, the plaintiff’s lawyer, told the Louisiana Record. “So what we have is a new expanded development use on the property that is being proposed that is substantially different from the first one.”

Frazier said there had been a proposal to expand the plan in 2000. A zoning change and development plan were approved at the time, but times have changed, according to Frazier.

“Nothing has been done out there in the way of any kind of drainage impact or traffic impact studies as least for 16 years or 17 years,” he said. "There are procedures that are set out in our land use law in Baton Rouge that need to be followed in order to make sure that everyone’s property rights are protected.”

Frazier said the commission moved forward and didn’t give any credence to the complaints that were being raised.

“They just proceeded forward on the basis of staff recommendations as far as I can tell,” he said.

The lawsuit was filed in April and there has been a hearing set for July 11. 

The owners of the Mount Hope Plantation have agreed to hold off making any changes to their land until after the case has been settled. 

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