A state appeals court has breathed new life into Henderson’s attempt to annex 46 acres at the Interstate 10 exit west of town, an area that includes restaurants, truck-stop casinos and gas stations that could beef up tax revenues.
Henderson Mayor Sherbin Collette said Wednesday that he plans to develop the interstate exit as a gateway to the town, improving landscaping and giving more attention to high grass than state crews have in recent years.
“I’m going to make that exit one of the prettiest exits on the interstate,” Collette said.
Henderson annexed the property in 2011 and several businesses in the area, including the Little Capitol of Louisiana, responded with a lawsuit contesting the move.
The businesses argued that Henderson was seeking to expand the town limits solely for the purpose of generating more tax revenue, which by itself is not considered a legal goal for annexations.
A state district judge last year sided with the businesses and threw out the annexation.
The state 3rd Circuit Court of Appeal overturned that decision in an opinion released Wednesday, ruling that Henderson should have a chance to argue at trial that the annexation was legal.
The I-10 exit in question is the closest interstate access point to Henderson, which sits on the edge of the Atchafalaya Basin.
Collette said the grass along I-10 is sometimes as high as four feet during the summer, a condition he thinks detracts from Henderson’s title as the “Gateway to the Atchafalaya Basin.”
“That gateway, in my opinion, is a disgrace,” he said.
Henderson officials have also argued that town police have already been responding to calls in the annexed area and that Henderson’s municipal sewer system could be extended to the annexed area to address inadequate sewage service at some of the businesses along the interstate.
An attorney representing businesses in the area, W. Glenn Soileau, could not be reached for comment on Wednesday.