Denham Springs Council considers annexation

The City Council is considering annexing land south of Bass Pro Boulevard to create a larger economic development district for Riverside Landing, possibly paving the way for a tax-increment-financing plan for the impending project.

Five people who own land in the area signed a petition to have the city annex about 18 acres of land between Bass Pro Boulevard and Vincent Road and presented the document to the council Monday.

City Attorney Paeton Burkett said the petition presented Monday represents 100 percent of the area’s landowners.

A letter from Jared Andrews, Livingston Parish’s chief deputy registrar of voters, says there are no registered voters in the defined area.

The property is valued at about $11,610, according to a letter from Parish Assessor Jeffrey Taylor.

The City Council voted unanimously Monday to introduce an ordinance to annex the land.

It will hold a public hearing on the matter Oct. 7 before voting on the ordinance.

Riverside Landing is an economic development project surrounding the Bass Pro Shop in Denham Springs, which Bass Pro developer Jacob Fa-Kouri said he envisioned when constructing the gigantic outdoor sports store.

Mayor Jimmy Durbin said annexing the land would allow the City Council to create an economic development district that covers all of Riverside Landing’s proposed area, part of which currently sits outside city limits.

Creating the economic development district could lead to a tax-increment-financing plan, or TIF, but Durbin said that is only a possibility at this point.

Tax-increment-financing plans redirect sales tax revenue collected within a district to development projects, such as Bass Pro and the in-the-works Juban Crossing development off Interstate 12 at Juban Road.

Fa-Kouri has said he would seek a TIF for parts of Riverside Landing.

Through a spokeswoman, Fa-Kouri declined comment Monday about the proposed annexation. He did not attend Monday’s meeting.

Fa-Kouri has said the new TIF would be limited to sales tax revenue collected within the economic development district and would help finance infrastructure and drainage work in the area.

Creating the district and paving the way for Riverside Landing would generate more sales tax revenue for the city, Durbin said.

“It’s going to be a fantastic development once we get there,” Durbin said.

Plans for Riverside Landing include women’s clothing and accessories stores and homemaking stores.

Crews already have broken ground on a Cavender’s western clothing store just off Bass Pro Boulevard.

The next phase of Riverside Landing will begin construction once 60 percent of the retailers sign up to join the project, which could be by the end of the year, Fa-Kouri has said.

Bass Pro opened in 2008 with the help of a TIF. That TIF diverted to the development a portion of sales tax revenue that otherwise would have gone to the Denham Springs City Council, Livingston Parish Council, parish School Board, Sheriff’s Office and Livingston Gravity Drainage District 1.