Residents concerned Mandeville lakefront development would impact their quality of life

Sucette Harbor would be built on 15 acres of unoccupied land along Lake Ponchartrain.
Published: May. 25, 2023 at 10:30 PM CDT
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MANDEVILLE (WVUE) - For the first time, the Mandeville City Council heard from the public on a proposed project to put senior living, a restaurant, hotel and event venue on prime lakefront real estate.

Sucette Harbor, located on 15 acres of vacant land adjacent to Mariner’s Village in Mandeville, would contain 201 apartments for seniors ages 55 and up, an 82-room boutique hotel, waterfront restaurant and event venue.

It would be built on land donated to the LSU Health Foundation by the Copeland family, with the land being leased to Woodward Interests and 60 percent of the proceeds from the lease would go to cancer research.

But some nearby Mariner’s Village residents said the project’s scale would transform their neighborhood for the worse.

“If this thing goes through, it’s going to contaminate all of the quietness and reserves that Mandeville citizens have come to believe in, their little residential enclave if you will, what it’s been known for,” said Lawrence Grundmann who lives across the water from where the development would be built.

It was a packed council meeting Thursday evening, with the council even having to move across the street to the Spitzfaden Community Center.

Residents who came out to speak brought signs and posters showing their opposition to the project.

“This would potentially be a beautiful site for a nature preserve, education for children, education for adults,” said Mandeville artist Emery Clark.

The motion would be to conditionally approve the site plan as presented, with additional consideration for rezoning the area from planned use residential to planned combined use, since there is a commercial element involved.

“We just have a lot of questions and a lot of concerns and a lot of things that we want to make sure we have an opportunity to get that information that’s needed, and then we’ll more forward from there,” said Rick Danielson, Chairman of the Mandeville City Council. “It’s the first part of the process, and we’re going to work our way through the process.”

Danielson would not give a timeline for when he thinks a final vote is possible.

Meanwhile, the development team also presented during the meeting, calling out misinformation they said has permeated on social media about the project, and noting a traffic study was done that showed no major impacts.

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