In The News › Critics of New Orleans’ draft zoning laws repeat calls for changes

Jan 6, 2015

Source: | The Times-Picayune

Filed under: Orleans Parish, Zoning

Critics of New Orleans’ draft zoning laws repeat calls for changes

By Richard Rainey | The Times-Picayune

January 6, 2015

Lingering angst over city officials’ proposed overhaul of New Orleans’ zoning laws propelled their critics Tuesday to once again seek to provoke greater public outcry.

Gathering in an upstairs room of the Little Gem Saloon at the corner of Loyola Avenue and Poydras Street, representatives of six riverside neighborhood groups repeated their specific oppositions to the so-called “comprehensive zoning ordinance” that the City Council is expected to consider early this year.

The new umbrella organization, dubbed the Riverfront Alliance, includes the Algiers Point Association, the Faubourg Marigny Improvement Association, French Quarter Citizens Inc., Holy Cross Neighborhood Association, Neighbors First for Bywater and the Vieux Carre Property Owners, Residents and Associates. The group has scheduled a citywide public meeting on the draft ordinance for 7 p.m. on Jan. 14 at Holy Angels at 3500 St. Claude Ave.

They also bought time on a large billboard across from City Hall to broadcast their concerns.

Their worries on Tuesday (Jan. 6) were many of the same points raised during a public hearing on the law change aired last fall.

1. Section 8.1

Meg Lousteau, executive director of the VCPORA, repeated her call to reinsert this section into the draft of the zoning ordinance. City Planning Commission officials, at the behest of city attorneys, removed the section because it appeared to be too legally confusing.

That section ostensibly protects the “tout ensemble,” or policy that protects the historic patina of the French Quarter. Planning Commission Executive Director Bob Rivers said the section was removed because the Vieux Carre Commission, which oversees the outside of buildings in the quarter, doesn’t have authority over land use decisions. He also said he would help craft similar protective language to insert elsewhere in city code.

2. Height limits on the Mississippi

Brian Luckett of the Neighbors First for Bywater railed against the proposed law’s allowance for higher buildings to be constructed along the Mississippi River downstream from the French Quarter.
Those additional height limits would be contingent on developers also building public access routes to the riverfront.

3. Article 5

Rhonda Findley of the Riverfront Alliance asked that “Article 5,” which grants the council and planning officials leeway to grant exceptions to zoning laws on a case-by-case basis undermines the proposed law’s very authority, be removed from the latest draft. Her objection echoed that of the government watchdog group Bureau of Governmental Research which called for the article to be revised or excised from the draft ordinance last fall.

4. Alcohol and Live Music

And lawyer and neighborhood advocate Keith Hardie called for tighter restrictions on late-night alcohol sales and live music.

Jan 6, 2015

Source: | The Times-Picayune

Filed under: Orleans Parish, Zoning

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