FINISH 3132 COALITION’S FEBRUARY 17, 2012 PETITION TO M. P. C.

DOES LARKIN PLAN TO BUILD NEW ROAD IN 3132 ROUTE?

by Elliott Stonecipher

Much to the 3132 Coalition’s surprise – and shame on us for ever being surprised – two governmental sources alerted us last week that developer Tim Larkin is planning to build a new road from his Bayou Pierre bridge to Flournoy-Lucas Road for his Esplanade development.  Any such road-building would follow Larkin’s just-completed installation of underground utilities in the same area, construction also widely believed to have been prohibited by the MPC’s previous action. 

In response to these developments, the Coalition spoke with Metropolitan Planning Commission (MPC) officials, then wrote the letter to MPC which may be viewed here.

THE ISSUE AND WHAT’S AT STAKE

As has been discussed in these reports for many months, the route of the would-be Hwy. 3132 Extension from its present terminus at Flournoy-Lucas Road tracks southeasterly to the Port of Caddo-Bossier.  The Extension must first cross Flournoy-Lucas, then traverse a 16-acre tract of land owned by Shreveport taxpayers since 1999.  Taxpayers passed a 1996 bond issue proposition for that purpose.

Download the full-size map from link in the text

Again at issue is the 36.99-acre tract to the south and west of the 16-acre tract.  For a clear understanding of the importance of this acreage, download and view an aerial view image of the area, with the 16-acre tract outlined in yellow and the 36.99-acre tract in teal.  (Boundaries are closely estimated.)  You will notice at the very bottom of the image the bridge Larkin has already constructed over Bayou Pierre.  It should be noted that this bridge is placed nearly precisely where the Hwy. 3132 route’s first required bridge would cross.

Some readers may remember a critical MPC meeting late last year in which that body acted to prevent any construction activity by Tim Larkin within the 36.99-acre tract through which the extension must pass.  The first violation of the route, we hasten to point out, was Larkin’s bridge over Bayou Pierre.

Although official documentation I have previously shared with you reveals an agreement to “protect” the 3132 route in this area, such was inexplicably never done.  Larkin bought the land from Twelve Oaks developer Tony Janca in April 2011, regardless of the fact that the public, via formal and clearly documented MPC action, was assured the 3132 route would be protected by donation of subject land.  My research further finds in the Code of Federal Regulations – 23 CFR 710.503 – an apparent “protective buying” provision which would have funded with federal dollars the purchase / preservation of the subject tract as soon as Janca expressed – as he did in writing – his pledge to NLCOG and MPC to “donate” land necessary to protect the 3132 route.

“Hijacking of Governmental Process” Defined

Put most directly, Larkin should never have been allowed to purchase the land required for 3132 from Janca, Janca should never have sold it to Larkin, and NLCOG should have taken any and all necessary action to protect the public interest.  (Janca, we have learned, sold the land to Larkin only after Larkin purchased a 120-acre tract to the south of Janca’s Twelve Oaks … a tract Janca had to have for any further development of his subdivision.)

Many aspects of this sordid tale demonstrate how a handful or two of individuals can rent the public’s governmental process here for their self-interest.

It is the Coalition’s very strong belief that in the public interest, no further construction activity by Larkin can be allowed.  The Coalition’s opposition will actively continue unless and until appropriate governmental authority unambiguously rules that these actions by private developers are legal, and the public has no recourse.

There are, of course, many enforcement authorities and courts of competent jurisdiction, any one of which may act in the public interest in this matter.

For now, the Coalition awaits a response from the MPC to our request on behalf of the general public for a full MPC hearing into any intention – ANY intention – of the Esplanade developer to yet further violate the public’s promised preservation of the Hwy 3132 route to the Port.  

Elliott Stonecipher

For any reader who may not know, this and all other such commentary has been done strictly in the public interest.  No compensation of any kind has been solicited, offered or accepted for this work.

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