EBR commission approves plan for auto auction

The East Baton Rouge Parish Planning Commission on Tuesday unanimously approved the final development plan for a wholesale automobile auction facility on 20 acres on Blount Road near Baton Rouge Metro Airport.

The facility, which would create 100 permanent jobs, will be operated by Auction Broadcasting Co., based in Indianapolis. Auction Broadcasting will auction used rental cars from all over the country to auto dealers.

Greg Ferris, of Ferris Engineering, said Auction Broadcasting has six facilities in Birmingham, Ala., Toledo, Ohio, Orlando, Fla., and other cities. Ferris said the facility should open in the first quarter of next year.

Commissioners Tara Wicker, W.T. Winfield, Darius Bonton, James Gilmore, Audrey Nabors Jackson, Sarah Holliday-James and John Price voted to approve. Commissioners Laurie Marien and Martha Jane Tassin were not present.

The commission also unanimously approved an eight-home development on 1.4 acres on the north side of Government Street west of Lobdell Avenue.

E’tage Gardens, designed by Baton Rouge architect and urban planner John Hogstrom, would be at the northwest corner of Government Street and Croyden Avenue. Plans show one- and two-story homes ranging from 1,500 to 3,000 square feet with sidewalk and open space in the interior of the property, which is currently undeveloped. The entrance will be on Croyden.

Hogstrom said construction should begin in the first quarter of next year with an 18-month buildout.

The commission approved the rezoning from A-1 residential to Infill Small Planned Unit Development.

The development had the support of Metro Councilwoman Alison Gary and a number of residents.

Attorney Charles Landry, who represented Hogstrom before the commission, noted the Goodwood Property Owners Association did not oppose the development.

One resident, however, opposed the development and noted the Goodwood association didn’t support it, either. John Shortess, who lives on Keed Avenue, said the rezoning to ISPUD effectively zones the property A-2, which is out of character with the surrounding neighborhoods.

Landry billed the development as being the same kind of infill development encouraged by the city-parish’s new masterplan, FutureBR.