Property owners looking to cash in on Cove Lane project - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Property owners looking to cash in on Cove Lane project

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LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) -

Stakes mark the spot where the Cove Lane Interchange will soon be and one property owner is already looking to cash in on the opportunity.

"He's interested in perhaps putting a billboard on that property. He's already signed a lease to do that. He's also interested in looking at some type of bed and breakfast opportunities. He thinks that would be an ideal location for something like that," explained Lee Boyer, attorney for property owner.

In order to do that, the City of Lake Charles would have to rezone the area from residential to mixed use. A handful of residents in the area are against the problems they say it would bring.

"I live on Magnolia Lane but I own property north of this and I really don't want to see Lake Charles - that Prien Lake Area -- turned commercial," said Jane Taylor.

"There is going to be a lot of traffic problems. You have boats, people trying to enjoy these parks and bring boats in and out of this area. It's going to be absolute chaos," said Dr. Ken Moss.

Whether they like it or not, the traffic will come. At last count, more than 400,000 cars travel the L'auberge/Nelson exit per month. Officials expect that to double with the construction of the new casino and several other big projects south of town.  

"I'm telling you, with 750,000 vehicles crossing that area ... that's more than the Dallas Airport, that's more than the Statue of Liberty combined. There's no way you are going to stop that from not turning commercial," said Dana Carl Jackson, Lake Charles City Council.

When you factor in that at least nine other property owners in the surrounding area have also made application for that same 'mixed-use' zoning, the Lake Charles City Council believes there is no way of turning back with progress on the way.

"It's just reality checking ... Or in this case reality biting. This as far as I can see an interstate corridor - it's prime usage could be business or mixed use," said Luvertha August, Lake Charles City Council President.

"Like I said, I feel people who own property need to have the ability to do with it as they see fit within reason. And I think this falls reasonable in the changing to a mixed use zoning," said Mark Eckard, Lake Charles City Council.

The majority of the council agreed -- six voting in favor, with newly-elected councilwoman Mary Morris abstaining.

The other applications for rezoning will go before the Lake Charles Planning and Zoning Board in August. The Cove Lane project is expected to be open for use in July of next year and finished by October or November of 2014.

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