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Monday, May 22, 2017
Southwest Louisiana ,
(Michelle Higginbotham / American Press)

(Michelle Higginbotham / American Press)

Annexing land, improving utilities helps city get developers' attention

Last Modified: Saturday, June 01, 2013 6:57 PM

By Eric Cormier / American Press

Last month the Lake Charles City Council annexed a piece of land ahead of work on Morganfield Development, which will be off East McNeese Street.

In coming weeks, the City Council will next decide if a tax incremental financing district can be initiated on the property. Money generated by that tax (possibly one cent) will be used to finance infrastructure improvements on the property.

District F City Councilman Dana Jackson has verbally supported the project, which is being spearheaded by River Ranch Development Co., based in Lafayette.

“There will be a commercial site there. As far as I know this type of financing hasn’t been done before by the city, not to mention they won’t be able to draw taxes outside of the taxing district,” Jackson said.

City Council members voted to annex 277 acres of land for the project. River Ranch officials intend to build 1,000 residential units and have 500,000 square feet of retail space. The project was given a boost after the East Prien Lake Road extension project was completed.

When the road was opened in October, officials with City Hall and the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury touted it as a potential catalyst for economic development between La. 14 and La. 397.

The city built new road over a one-mile stretch and installed water and sewer lines. Parish officials completed a section of road that included upgrades.

Mister Edwards, head of the city’s public works department, said construction has aided Morganfield.

“It makes the project possible. Without it, the developer would not have access to public utilities,” he said. “All of this was done to stimulate development.”

In what is expected to be a robust housing market due to industrial growth in the region, city officials and the developer felt it was prudent to provide access to public utilities instead of having potential homeowners paying cost for their homes and servicing water wells.

“I think this is a very good project,” Jackson said of Morganfield. “These are going to be homes people can afford.”

Jackson said the project could grow and eventually lead to more annexation since the overall property amount includes 2,000 acres.

“This could be a long-term project. The property owner is in it for the long haul,” Jackson said.

In October 2012, City Administrator John Cardone told the American Press that annexation in the southeast portion of town made sense.

Annexing and improving city utilities to get the attention of developers has been a part of the city’s growth philosophy.

“A plan was created in 2007. The idea that grew from that was we understand it is costly to retrofit areas where people live but don’t have infrastructure. So it makes sense to annex property where water and sewer doesn’t exist since it would be cheaper,” Cardone told the newspaper then.

“They would be able to build at a reasonable cost because water and sewer lines would already exist and all they would have to do is connect to them.”

The city is going to charge Morganfield a fee for some infrastructure improvement.

Posted By: Carter On: 7/22/2013

Title: Why wait when the iron is hot now?

Cal Citizen, yes, the fastest growing areas in Calcasieu Parish are Moss Bluff and the Prien district, primarily due to the parish's population being comprised of families. Some of the key reasons behind Lafayette's success regarding the economy are the increasing job market and the attractive cityscape that targets young professionals. Southwest Louisiana has been the fastest growing area the past two years, and it WILL continue to grow in the next 10+ years. If not for the Morganfield Development, the Prien and Southwest areas of Lake Charles will continue to grow, leaving the east side of the city to grow at a slower rate which could hurt businesses in that area. With 16,000 direct and indirect jobs lined up for SWLA, there will be an influx of people with money to spend. Because the city IS growing, the city needs the money from these future Morganfield residents to spend on roads, traffic lights, etc.

Posted By: Joel On: 7/4/2013

Title: what if it were another country club?

Something tells me that if this were another countclub that we would not haveY these complaints. Did you HONESTLY thinkthat Mcneese St was extended just so YOU would have an alternate way to commute?

Posted By: Edward K. On: 6/10/2013

Title: I agree with Cal Citizen

I agree with Cal Citizen. I use to live in the city, but it's gotten to be so crime ridden, and the quality of life is not what I prefer to raise my family in. We moved outside the city, and in an area I thought the city would not be approaching for a long long time. They are still 20yrs from me, but they have started moving my direction and I don't like it. Also, the new land annexed has no homes there, they are building homes now, so people will be moving to that area from other places in the city, leaving the parts they leave to the decline for that "outskirt" piece. No one could object because no one lived there. The city unlike Lafayette is NOT ready or capable at this time of taking on more responsibility.

Posted By: Joel On: 6/5/2013

Title: McNeese Street was not extended for nothing.

It amazes me how whiny and entitled some ppl feel. Cal Citizen, what the hell did you think the city was extending McNeese Street for? Being outside of the city limits does NOT guarantee you PEACE and quiet, it really doesn't. Plus, alot of the land in question was already IN the city limits so there really was not much needed to be annexed. There is alot we can't do living outside the city limits. There are alot of elections that we cannot participate in, even though we are still considered to be Lake Charles, have LC addresses, and pay city taxes. Do you honestly think that Lafayette did not have to annex to grow? Look at other cities, that have like 1,000,000 suburbs. annexation takes place everywhere and it's done w/ the consent of the property owners in place.

Posted By: Calcasieu Citizen On: 6/2/2013

Title: The city is vastly pushing people further

Calcasieu Parish's numbers have grown but not LC city, that is for a reason. Alot of people this way prefer to live outside the city limits. We buy property unable to settle for extended periods because the city is steadily on our heels. Instead we now have to look further for piece from the city, and then further. Stop annexing and fix up what you do have first

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