Rouzan developer seeking rehearing in zoning dispute

A six-year courthouse war resumed this week over the legality of city-parish zoning that enabled Baton Rouge developer J.T. “Tommy” Spinosa to begin construction of his Rouzan traditional neighborhood development adjacent to Southdowns.

Spinosa, through his 2590 Associates LLC, is asking a three-judge panel of the 1st Circuit Court of Appeal for a rehearing of the civil case.

Those circuit judges — John T. Pettigrew, J. Michael McDonald and James E. Kuhn — ruled Feb. 26 that the Metro Council was wrong to have granted the TND zoning to Spinosa’s firm because it did not own or control about 5 acres of land surrounded by the 119 acres of his development.

Absent a change or reversal of that ruling or passage of a new zoning ordinance, Rouzan will revert to its former A-1 single-family residential zoning, Assistant Parish Attorney Lea Anne Batson said last month.

That was after the 1st Circuit panel issued a declaratory judgment in favor of two homeowners — Bob Welch and Daniel Hoover. Their homes are in the middle of the Rouzan development, and the men sued the Metro Council in an effort to, among other things, regain control of a 30-foot-wide servitude they used for years to access Glasgow Avenue, west of its intersection with Perkins Road.

A Rouzan townhome now sits in that servitude.

“We find the existent servitude of passage prevents 2590 Associates from having the complete, unified, and legal control necessary for compliance with the (Unified Development Code),” the appellate judges ruled last month.

This week, through attorney Brian L. McCullough, Spinosa asked the panel for a rehearing and argued that 2590 Associates has complete control of that servitude and all other property in Rouzan.

For the appellate court to conclude otherwise, Spinosa argued, would mean “there is essentially no immovable property susceptible to be rezoned as a (Traditional Neighborhood Development).”

TNDs are allowed to build houses on smaller lots than in neighborhoods zoned A-1 single family residences. TNDs also can include commercial buildings and multifamily housing.

Through attorney Alex St. Amant, Hoover and Welch filed a response Thursday. They said the request for rehearing “should be denied because no new argument is presented for this court’s consideration, and each issue and supporting argument was presented to the court previously and rejected.”