Tuesday, March 19, 2019

AG Opinion: Port not prohibited from leasing entire tract

Posted: Friday, January 4, 2019 | Views: 2008

AG Opinion: Port not prohibited from leasing entire tract
An Attorney General opinion issued Friday does not prohibit the South Tangipahoa Parish Port Commission from entering into a lease “of the entirety of the property owned by the Commission” as was proposed last summer with the Village at Port Manchac project.

The two-page report, issued by the Louisiana Department of Justice Civil Division, finds no issue with the Port leasing the “approximately 40 acres where it operates an inter-modal terminal facility that serves manufacturing and distribution clients throughout the Gulf South, including the storage and trans-loading of containerized shipments by barge, rail, and truck.”

The issue became a question last summer when developers brought their “Villages at Port Manchac” proposal to the commission and asked for an 18-month memorandum of understanding to lease the property so they could perform due diligence on the site and see if it would be suitable for their project. The commission voted unanimously to deny the MOU and seek instead the AG opinion, which they claimed would offer them clear information on how to proceed with projects such as this.

The Villages project has been on hold since the July Port Commission vote, pending the AG’s opinion. The commission has since seen the resignation of longtime member Don Boihem, who was a strong proponent to keep the port as a multi-modal port facility, not a mixed-used development.

The AG opinion will be discussed at Tuesday’s Port Commission meeting. There is no specific mention of the Villages of Port Manchac proposal on the Jan. 8 agenda notice which was made public on Friday, as well.