Lawsuit Filed Challenges Proposal To Incorporate Satsuma

LIVINGSTON, LA (AP) — The effort to incorporate the Livingston Parish community of Satsuma has drawn a legal challenge that could keep the issue from going to voters next month.
         The Advocate’s Heidi R. Kinchen reports a businessman and some residents filed a lawsuit Wednesday seeking a restraining order to keep the issue off the March 28 ballot, claiming the incorporation organizers fraudulently coerced people to sign the petition and did not follow state law.
         Jeffrey Henderson, on behalf of J3 Investments LLC, Jeffrey and Tracy Holtgren Tamborrino, and Kerri McDonald also claim in their lawsuit that the proposed town would include an unreasonably large area of vacant land and the proposed town would not be able to provide the required public services.
         They have asked the 21st Judicial District Court to issue restraining orders against petition organizers Edmond Arledge and Harvey L. Arledge, the parish registrar of voters and Gov. Bobby Jindal, prohibiting the incorporation issue from going on the ballot and setting a hearing date.
         Petition organizer Harvey L. Arledge has said the proposed town limits were drawn to include the vacant land south of I-12 where the parish government proposes to locate a general aviation airport so that community residents would have a voice in whether and how that land is developed. Lewis, the developer who owns about 2,000 acres within the proposed town limits, including the land where the airport would be located, has said the incorporation effort is nothing more than a land grab.
         In addition, the lawsuit alleges that the 6,500-acre proposed incorporation area includes more than 4,500 acres of uninhabited land that is largely unconnected to the area where most community members live.
         The lawsuit also alleges that three different versions of the petition were circulated and that no single petition collected the required 255 signatures — 25 percent of the proposed town's 1,023 registered voters — to be placed on the ballot.
         No hearing has been set in state court.
         For more information

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