Metro Council’s Annexation of The Mall of Louisiana Is Fraught with Legal Issues

Metro Council’s Annexation of The Mall of Louisiana Is Fraught with Legal Issues

On Wednesday, May 14, 2014, the Metro Council of East Baton Rouge Parish voted to annex the Baton Rouge General and The Mall of Louisiana into the City of Baton Rouge.

Signing the petition asking for annexation were Level Ventures, LLC, which owns land adjacent to the City of Baton Rouge fronting on Anselmo Lane, the Baton Rouge General Medical Center and General Health Systems, two non-profit organizations, and the Mall of Louisiana, LLC, and Mall of Louisiana Land, LLC, which own the land and buildings at the Mall, except for the four anchor stores, a Sears auto store, and an Entergy substation.

The petition did not include the signatures of two landowners within the proposed annexation — the Kansas City Southern Railroad and DSLD, LLC.  The KC railroad owns the railroad tracks running along Anselmo Lane.  Its property is essential to making the Level Ventures tract contiguous to the Baton Rouge General, assuming the use of Anselmo Lane for the same purpose.

DSLD, LLC, actually owns 36 lots in the tract that was presented as belonging to Level Ventures.  But DSLD did not sign the petition.

Several other taxpayers, within the outer borders of the annexation,  did not sign the petition for annexation.  They are

• Sears

• Macy’s

• J. C. Penney’s

• Dillard’s

• Sear Auto Centers

• Entergy

• Towne Place Suites (Marriott)

When an area to be annexed includes no registered voters or resident property owners and the property is other than vacant land, the land can only be annexed if 90 percent of the boundaries are contiguous to the city.

In addition, state law requires that annexations have to be contiguous, compact, and meet a standard of “reasonableness.”

Any suit to challenge an annexation has to be brought within 30 days of the passage of the annexation ordinance or, in this case, by June 14, 2014.

At least one suit challenging the incorporation is likely to be filed

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