Plans for private lot along Mandeville lakefront stir controversy

Published: Apr. 8, 2015 at 2:15 AM CDT|Updated: Jun. 29, 2016 at 8:56 PM CDT
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MADISONVILLE, LA (WVUE) - Plans to turn 80 acres in Mandeville into a new housing and retail center are stirring up controversy. The site of the old pre-stress concrete plant is located along the Lakefront.

The site has sat vacant for over 30 years. Now the family that owns it wants to develop it, bringing in an architecture firm from Lafayette that is trying to figure out the best use.

Architect Steve Oubre explains, "We're talking residential, mixing residential types, cottages, mansions, walkable, a marina community."

Oubre says the site might also include a hotel and several restaurants. The plan was discussed at an informational meeting Tuesday night at the Pontchartrain Yacht Club. The goal is to give the public a chance to weigh in on the project. Blueprints haven't even been drawn up because the owner of the land wanted to hear from the community before settling on a final plan. By next week at this time though, a firm plan should be in place.

The general idea is to convert the 78-acre site into a neighborhood - one with housing and retail options. Some, like Mandeville Mayor Donald Villere, think the project would generate growth along the Lakefront, but others worry about the traffic and congestion that may result.

"I'm concerned about the school rush hour because the traffic is quite heavy and everybody heading in the exact same direction at that time and those additional 600 families are going to be heading to those exact same schools," Mandeville resident Margot Rhinehart said.

"People have been looking for something to be done at that site for the past 30 years, and it just screams for attention as you come across the Causeway, so I think it's certainly very timely," Mandeville Mayor Donald Villere said.

After next Monday's community meeting, then final plans for the project would be submitted to the City of Mandeville, and ultimately, the city council would have to sign off on the project, before it becomes a reality.

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