Revision to Ordinance Unanimously Approved

Revision to the TND Ordinance allows for parking in front of new Sprouts Farmer's Market

The East Baton Rouge Planning Commission amended its Traditional Neighborhood Development ordinance Monday night to allow parking in front of grocery stores, as well as possible future drive-throughs at businesses. 

The amendment for parking was made in response to changes planned for Rouzan, the Southdowns-area TND acquired in January by John Engquist and Charles Landry. In March, the new owners inked a deal with Sprouts Farmers Market, a natural and organic grocery chain, to develop a 30,000-square-foot supermarket in the heart of the development.

In order to make the deal work, however, the store required that it be oriented toward its parking lot. The parish’s current TND ordinance requires a grocery store be oriented toward the road. 

“The community wants the grocery, and the community recognizes the grocery can’t come to Rouzan without changes to the ordinance,” Landry, says.  

The commission also approved the removal of language from the ordinance that prohibited drive-throughs. Still, if a business wants to have a drive-through it must get commission approval in its final development plan. 

The changes relative to parking apply only to grocery stores in TNDs. Before they become law, the Metro Council in its capacity as the parish zoning commission must approve them, which is scheduled to happen at Wednesday’s monthly meeting. 

Planning Commission Director Frank Duke says his agency was in support of the amendments passed Monday.

Assuming the Metro Council signs off on the changes to the TND parking requirements, Sprouts will begin moving forward with its plans. The lease for the new grocery has been signed, Landry says, and the final development plan for Rouzan is scheduled to be approved by the commission on May 21. Construction is anticipated to begin in July with the store opening in the first quarter of next year.

Tim Basilica