New Destrehan development might face tough time with Parish Council

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 4, 2008


Staff Reporter

DESTREHAN – Review is underway with the US Army Corps of Engineers on a proposed retail and residential development on Airline Highway near Ormond Boulevard in St. Charles Parish, but parish officials say the project may not get off the ground.

Developers submitted an application March 11, to the State Department of Natural Resources Coastal Management Division for a coastal use permit to begin construction on the 15-acre Destrehan development, which is expected to include a pharmacy chain.

Ontario James, the Coastal Management Division’s reviewer on the project, said the application is now in the review process. He said the review period could last anywhere from a month to several years, as all the factors pertaining to construction and feasibility get looked at.

“In this particular application, there is talk of trying to move it to a different location,” said James. “This is certainly the kind of thing that will undergo public scrutiny.”

James said in addition to the pharmacy, and other retail and commercial entities, the project is also slated to include some form of housing.

“It appears that it is going to be one of those dual communities that have become popular recently,” said James.

Earl Matherne of the St. Charles Planning and Zoning Commission said his office lists the application as a drug store of some kind, but did not have any information further. He did say, however, that the St. Charles Coastal Zone Advisory Committee is expected to advise the St. Charles Council to draft a letter of objection regarding the project, based on the location the developer is looking to build.

“The area of construction is on the north side of US 61,” said Matherne. “We usually tend to keep this area as undeveloped land along Airline, which is why the advice is to object.”

Matherene said he did not know whether the developers are planning to change locations, noting that it was too early in the review process.

The developer of the project, Destrehan First Baptist Church Pastor Benny Jones, did not return repeated phone calls for comment on the development.

The application is open for public review and scrutiny at the Office of the Coastal Management Division, located at 617 North 3rd St., Rm. 1048, Baton Rouge, LA.