BATON ROUGE - Sammy's Grill on Highland Road and the neighborhood behind the restaurant reached a compromise about a parking lot expansion.

The owner of Sammy's tried to expand parking and create another entrance in the rear of the restaurant, but people who live behind Sammy's didn't want that to happen. The attempt to rezone land from residential to commercial met opposition two years ago. After litigation, the neighborhood and Sammy's compromised.

Sammy's gets to expand into a small portion of land near Kimbro Drive, but doesn't get to create an entrance/exit into the neighborhood. The plan also includes a 20-foot buffer zone between the neighborhood and the proposed parking lot.

People who live there didn't want the extra traffic, and are glad things were worked out.

"This was a country neighborhood at one time. Of course it's grown, and we'd like to maintain the rural aspect of the neighborhood," said Morton Horston Jr. "We're all for business growth in this area and glad there was a compromise and that everyone will benefit from the compromise."

"Normally we'll get eight cars through here in a day's time. With that extra traffic, we'd get them a lot more," said Randy Macon.

District 12 Councilman John Delgado, who represents that area, says the compromise is a win-win for both Sammy's and the neighborhood.

"The restaurant and everyone who patronizes it now has a better parking area and better entrances and exits to the parking lot, but the guys in the neighborhood get to preserve the residential character of the neighborhood. I think that's really important," he said.

Rezoning the piece of land to create 51 new parking spots was introduced Wednesday to the Metro Council. The plan will be voted on in November. Delgado says he sees no opposition to pass the parking plan.

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