Ashton subdivision takes leap toward reality

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 19, 1999

By LEONARD GRAY / L’Observateur / June 19, 1999

LULING – Ashton Plantation Estates, which is to add more than 2,000 homes to Luling, between Interstate 310 and the present town, took a giant leap forward this week.

Construction on the first phase, pending all relevant approvals, is due to start before the end of this year. Depending upon market demand, theentire development could be filled in 25 years.

“It’s a great location, an excellent site,” Vice-President Gregory Lier of Rathborne commented.

A town-hall meeting is tentatively set July 8 for area residents to voice their comments and concerns.

A series of small meetings with St. Charles Parish Council membersbrought them up to date on the massive project, under joint development by Rathborne Land Company and J.B. Levert Land Company.Lier said Wednesday that the planned community will include, in time, a “town center,” where a grocery, pharmacy and other small shops could be located.

Discussions are also under way with the St. Charles School Board to buildan elementary school for the area.

In addition, the first phase of the development will include a recreation center, to be built by the developers and eventually turned over to the homeowners association, to be formed as residents arrive.

The 1,625-acre Ashton Plantation was purchased nearly a year ago, in September 1997, by a partnership including Rathborne Land Company and Levert Land Company for $2.2 million from St. Charles Holdings Inc.Ashton Plantation Estates also set aside acreage for future commercial and multi-family housing developments and includes 104 acres of small lakes.

The density of homesites will be 1.6 units per acre, according to Lier, andthe economic impact of the planned development will be considerable.

Construction of the total development is estimated to offer $600 million over 20 years in total economic impact, including $320 million in local taxes.

Annually, the development is expected to offer $8 million in annual benefits from construction alone, including $680,000 in local sales taxes and 202 construction jobs. The projected “town center” is anticipated togenerate an estimated 56 jobs, Lier said.

Lier added that the developers hope to build an average of 80 residences per year.

Danny Hebert is coordinating the drainage and sewerage planning. Eightypercent of the development’s drainage is intended to flow to the lakes and then to off-site ditches.

The residences themselves will be built at a plus-5-foot elevation to help protect residents against storm surge.

Lier continued that traffic considerations include a major access road from River Road and, as the development continues to build, direct access from I-310 and a link to the existing Hackberry Lane in adjoining Gassen Subdivision.

“We expect people will want to live here,” said Barry Allison, president of Environmental and Planning Associates Inc.

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