EBR Planning Commission gives nod to Hundred Oaks project

The city-parish Planning Commission narrowly approved a controversial rezoning request Monday for a site at Perkins Road west by Drehr Street.

Commissioners voted 5-3 in favor of the Hundred Oaks ISPUD, an upscale infill neighborhood proposed by developer and builder Steven Duplechain. The request goes to the Metro Council at 4 p.m. on Wednesday.

Duplechain wanted to rezone a nearly 1-acre site from single-family residential zoning to an infill small planned unit development, a move that allows him to change the density from six houses on the site to seven houses.

“The ISPUD process is the only legal means where I can get to where I need to be,” Duplechain said. The lots on the property were not equally sized, and he wanted to mirror the number of houses that are across the street from his property on Drehr.

ISPUD stands for Infill/mixed use Small Planned Unit Development.

Duplechain said he plans to build seven custom homes on the site that will range in size from 2,500 square feet to 2,750 square feet. The properties will sell in a range from $360,000 up to $450,000 for the houses that face Perkins.

Right now there are two buildings on the site.

Nearby residents were opposed to the request, saying the land could be redeveloped without going away from single-family zoning.

“We favor infill development,” Pam Volentine said. But she called Duplechain’s plans “misguided” and said they could be accomplished under the existing zoning.

Patty Prats-Swanson, who said the development backs up to her house, noted that most ISPUD zoning is used to revitalize depressed areas. “This is a thriving neighborhood,” she said. “The only reason to do this is for the financial gain of the developer.”

Voting for the rezoning were Councilwoman Tara Wicker, who chairs the commission and in whose district the project is located, and Commissioners Darius Bonton, James Gilmore Jr., Steven Perret and John Price. Commissioners W.T. Winfield, Gregory Ducote and Sarah Holiday-James voted against the measure, and Commissioner Laurie Marien was absent.

The rezoning request first went before the Planning Commission in January, but a fire alarm went off in City Hall during the discussion and the meeting was stopped.

Editor’s note: This article was changed on Feb. 18 to reflect that the Metro Council will hear the case this Wednesday and to note that the development is west of Dreher Street.