SHREVEPORT La -- Some homeowners on the west side have had enough of affordable housing and dollar stores. But plans for both are in the works at or near one intersection.

At the busy crossroads of Pines and Jefferson Paige, it could be all about the dollar. Family Dollar is already in business. Crews are busy putting up the next dollar store, a Dollar Tree. And a proposed Dollar General could go up on a vacant lot to make three dollar stores basically at the same intersection.

"I don't think there's any planning going on," complains Nathaniel Manning, the president of the West Shreveport Alliance.

Manning is also an economics professor. He and other neighborhood association leaders worry about having three dollar stores -- and then possibly no Brookshires supermarket anymore -- at an intersection crowded with discounters.

"They use what I call predatory pricing," Manning says of the dollar stores. "They would undercut Brookshires profits. Because there have been studies done that other grocery chains actually lose 30 percent of their profit margins when dollar stores actually move in."

The Metropolitan Planning Commission's Executive Director, Alan Clarke, says the development of the third store, Dollar General, is just preliminary. But he says the area is zoned commercial, and another dollar store would be allowable use.

Clarke says, "Discrimination is not what a government agency is allowed to do."

But that's not all. A developer has designs for a wooded lot just south of the intersection. Rowanoak Development of Pearl, Mississippi wants to build 44 low-income housing units. But opponents say they're not needed.

"There is affordable housing available in west Shreveport already. And we have approximately 25 to 26 percent vacancy rate among those 15 complexes that are already within our community," says Joyce Lawrence, the researcher for the West Shreveport Alliance.

What's more, Lawrence found that the developer has already applied for low income housing tax credits from the state to build what would be called "The Gates at Jefferson Paige."

But Lawrence found maps for U.S. Census tracts that show the Western Hills area is not eligible.

"This development is totally inappropriate for the corner of Jefferson Paige and Pines," Lawrence says.

MPC Director Clarke says the developer will have to take the tax credit matter up with the Louisiana Housing Commission. He says all that's before the MPC so far is a request to rezone the property from single family to multi-family use.

"We are business friendly. We in west Shreveport want business. So we're not anti-business at all. But we are pro property values," says the Caddo Parish Commissioner for the district, Louis Johnson.

He's received the complaints of residents and is keeping an open mind on the housing proposal. He's organized a community meeting with the developer so that he and everyone will have all the information possible.

That meeting with the developer is Thursday evening at 6:30 at Western Hills Baptist Church. MPC Director Clarke says he'll also be in attendance.

Our request for comment from the developer has not been answered.


Load comments