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Resident expresses concern over Airline growth

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Jennyne Pinter, jpinter@bossierpress.com

As Airline Drive keeps growing, the land along the road is becoming more desirable for businesses, to the chagrin of some residents. 

The residential areas north of I-220 are growing and developers are eyeballing the potential in that area. Residents living in the neighborhoods off of Airline Drive are starting to get a little nervous with the boom’s accompanying traffic and noise. 

At the June 25 Metropolitan Planning Commission (MPC) meeting, a resident of Byrd Circle voiced her concern regarding the application of D. Greg Williams to change the zoning at 5207 Airline Drive from R-LD to B-1 for a dental practice.

“I live right across from where they’re going to be building and I oppose it,” the resident said.  “We live on just one circle with five houses on our circle.  It’s a very quiet street and usually nobody comes down our street.  We feel like it’s going to increase the traffic on our street…it’s going to increase the noise as well and we feel like there’s not going to be any privacy at all in our yard.”

The resident further stated that she had concerns over the devaluation of her property with a business so near.

Donnie McDaniel, Ben Rauschenbach, Art Schuldt, Brett Mattison and Mark Montgomery of the MPC responded to the resident’s statements.

“What about a fast food restaurant?” McDaniel queried.  “That’s commercial property.  In the world of commercial property, (a dental office) is the least invasive business that could ever go there.”

The resident cited the volume of business at a dental office located on Airline Drive south of Byrd Circle, but the MPC reiterated that the alternatives would be far greater.

“We want to protect your area,” said Rauschenbach, “from something that would be much more dense.”

“One other thing, too, that I want to say,” added Schuldt, “We’ve already experienced this with another subdivision, with Airline Estates.  This is an empty lot right now with an empty slab.  No one is going to build a single family house and live fronting Airline Drive.”

“Obviously, the highest and best use of this property is something with a whole lot more traffic associated with it,” Schuldt explained.

The board listened to the resident’s concerns regarding the potential for accidents on her road as well as the noise from the patients. The dentist herself responded with reassurance that the practice would be low-volume.

“I’m just going to make an editorial comment,” said Mattison. “In Bossier City, we’re poised to explode with growth. You talk about traffic on Airline Drive -”

“Oh, it’s awful.  It’s awful,” interjected the resident.

“Well I don’t think it’s awful,” Mattison continued, “I think it’s progress.”

The commission voted unanimously to approve the application.

“When you look at what we’ve got going on:  If you look behind Kroger, if you look on the north and south sides of I-220, it’s just all developable property. It’s going to be residential, it’s going to be commercial, it’s going to be compatible and it’s going to continue to grow,” Mattison added. “That’s just the pains that we have to plan for so that we can go forward in a growing, booming city.”