BR council denies rezoning request for Hundred Oaks

Hundred Oaks residents and their neighbors successfully thwarted an attempt to rezone a property at Perkins Road near Drehr Street for a proposed upscale infill neighborhood.

The Metro Council voted 9-2 Wednesday against developer Steven Duplechain’s controversial request to rezone the property from single-family residential to an Infill/mixed-use Small Planned Unit Development, despite recommendations from the City-Parish Planning Commission and its staff that the zoning change be approved.

Duplechain had requested the rezoning so he could build seven houses instead of six on the 1-acre site, but residents claimed losing the single-family designation could lead to future changes in the neighborhood.

More than a half-dozen spoke out against the proposal during Wednesday’s meeting.

“We are trying to protect our neighborhood,” said Patty Prats-Swanson, whose home is adjacent to the property.

After the vote, Duplechain said he was disappointed but plans to move forward with the development, building six homes.

Duplechain said the net value to him would be “about the same” either way, but he had planned to build smaller homes that would be more competitive on the market.

Before the meeting, residents chatted in the crowd, going over their talking points and introducing themselves to neighbors.

Several were dressed in bright green T-shirts that proclaimed “A1 and Loving It!” — a reference to the property’s zoning designation.

Pam Volentine, who lives near the property, told the council that it’s important to the area to retain its A1 status, which many see as the “gold standard” of neighborhood zoning.

“Anything less than A1 is, well, less,” she said. “A1 is as good as it gets.”

Voting against Duplechain’s request were Council members Trae Welch, Chauna Banks-Daniel, Chandler Loupe, Ronnie Edwards, Donna Collins-Lewis, C. Denise Marcelle, Buddy Amoroso, Ryan Heck and John Delgado. Council members Scott Wilson and Joel Boé voted for the rezoning, and Councilwoman Tara Wicker, who supported the rezoning request as chairwoman of the Planning Commission, was not at the meeting.