When residents of any community hear that there will be a manufacturing and logistics project close to home, they often fear what it will do to the environment around them. St. Tammany Parish residents are questioning the rezoning of a part of the Wadsworth property at the intersection of La. 1088 and Interstate 12 close to Mandeville.
John Crosby, a developer, wants to build an 800-plus acre industrial corridor on the site. He assures the St. Tammany Parish that the project will bring good jobs to the area and will not harm the environment. Residents spoke their concerns at the Parish Council at a town hall meeting about the impact on traffic and drainage.
Currently, the land is zoned for a mixture of different residential zones and a planned business campus zoning. Crosby is no stranger to these kinds of projects. His company developed The Sanctuary in Mandeville and has a good reputation for being environmentally friendly.
The plan for the site is to have 15 to 20 sites with the smallest being 25 acres. The buildings will be large and look like office buildings.
He also promised to use surfaces that allow rainwater to reach the underlying soil, such as crushed limestone or pavers with plantings in them, sometimes known as living concrete. Other features will include large swales covered in vegetation. With these steps in place, there will be less runoff and better water quality that does run downstream.
“It will not be a wasteland. It is something you are going to be proud of,” he said.
Target or Office Depot, Amazon, FedEx, or UPS are some of the businesses looking to locate distribution centers at the proposed project. He explains that what they will be using the land for will not be noxious or offensive and will not pollute the air or water.
This is not enough for Nancy Wagner, who fought a high-profile and successful battle against the proposed Medline medical equipment distribution center that was planned to be built near Covington. She does not see how they will keep from destroying the environment such as plastics and paint manufacturing. Deed restrictions can only go so far, and she believes they cannot be relied on to enforce zoning matters.
Residents still questioned the project even with the jobs that could potentially be generated there. Crosby does point out that more people who grew up in the area, will stay in the area if they have jobs to go to. The kind of companies that are in discussion to be part of the project will be companies that will attract and hire college graduates.
“Where are we going to put all those people,” David Jones, a member of Concerned Citizens of St. Tammany asked. “Apartments,” someone in the audience replied.