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Esplanade Zoning Request Delayed 30 Days

September 08, 2011

At the September 7 meeting of the Metropolitan Planning Commission (MPC), members took no action regarding an access road to the Esplanade master planned community in southeast Shreveport. Developer Tim Larkin, who cannot begin construction of homes in Esplanade until a key zoning issue is cleared up, appeared before the MPC hoping to get approval to move forward with road construction.

However, at the persistent urging of several MPC board members and staff, Larkin withdrew his request.

At issue is permanent access to Esplanade from East Flournoy Lucas Road. The ongoing discussions are set against the backdrop of the potential southern extension of Louisiana Highway 3132, The Inner Loop. Presently, the highway terminates at Flournoy Lucas, a short distance east of Esplanade. Larkin has been seeking access to Flournoy Lucas Road after an earlier request for access on Railsback Road drew the complaints from homeowners on Railsback and along Ellerbe Road. Several years ago, he attempted to gain access from The Glen but dropped those plans.

Larkin has become involved with the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) to seek access that would be paid for by the State of Louisiana. Larkin illustrated to the MPC a conceptual DOTD plan for service roads near the 3132/Flournoy Lucas interchange. He also said that DOTD is involved actively in discussion with the nearby Glen retirement community about residential street construction to provide access to Esplanade. He declared that Larkin Development will make no comment on DOTD’s plans but will work within the framework of that agency’s decisions.

MPC members expressed concern that DOTD and The Glen have made no formal commitments, nor have any firm timelines for road construction been established. Larkin continued to press for the necessary permission to move forward with road construction, saying any further delay would create an “enormous financial burden” on his company because of various contractual obligations in place for further development at Esplanade.

MPC members continued the discussion, saying essentially that they can’t approve a road if they don’t know where the road will go. They won’t know that, they contend, until DOTD comes to an agreement with The Glen and makes a formal declaration.
The protracted discussion came to a conclusion with Mr. Larkin saying “in the spirit of trying to be reasonable, we will request that the decision be deferred until next month.” The MPC agreed with that request.

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