Appeal Filed in In 1st Circuit on Mall Annexation

Capital City News editor Woody Jenkins has filed a brief with the 1st Circuit Court of Appeal challenging a ruling by District Judge Janice Clark in the Mall annexation controversy.

Jenkins filed suit in June that the Metro Council had no legal authority to annex portions of the Mall of Louisiana.

The annexation by the Council in May provided that the City of Baton Rouge would annex the smaller stores in the Mall, the hallways, and some of the parking lots.  However, the largest anchor stores, such as Sears, Penney’s, Dillard’s, and Macy’s refused to sign the annexation petition and were not included in the annexation.  The result was a map showing large donut holes inside the proposed new city limits.

Jenkins said this creates an illegal and unworkable situation where Baton Rouge City Police would patrol the hallways and smaller stores, while Sheriff’s deputies would have responsibility for the anchor stores. Anyone who walked through the Mall would go in and out of the City of Baton Rouge numerous times, he said.

Jenkins filed suit against the City of Baton Rouge, alleging that the East Baton Rouge Parish Plan of Government requires that annexations be of a “compact body of land.”  The city also failed to meet many other legal standards, Jenkins argued.  In July, Judge Clark ruled that Jenkins had no standing to file the suit.  However, Jenkins alleges in his appeal that the Plan of Government clearly says “any citizen” has the right to challenge an illegal annexation.  The city has until Oct. 15 to file its own brief with the Court of Appeal.

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