In The News › Group critical of proposed N.O. master plan

Oct 14, 2009

Source: WWLTV

Filed under: Orleans Parish, Planning Issues

Group critical of proposed N.O. master plan

Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Katie Moore, Eyewitness News

NEW ORLEANS – New Orleans residents got their first chance to sound off on the first draft of the city’s new master plan.

But the Bureau of Governmental Research is giving the planners some input of their own. Their consultant said that the document is incomplete and needs more time to be refined before it heads to the City Planning Commission.

“This plan is different from many cities in that this is a plan that needs to go much further,” said one of the plan’s creators, David Dixon, with Goody Clandy, the planning firm hired by the city to draft it.

Dixon helped the city host the first public hearing on the master plan Tuesday night at City Hall.

It’s a document that spells out what New Orleans wants to look like in the future, and forces those who want to develop in the city to abide by the vision.

“We can invite major capitol into this city and they won’t be afraid to invest because they know the rules and they know that the rules won’t change half way through the game,” said the author of the master plan charter amendment, City Council Vice President Jackie Clarkson.

But getting those rules in place isn’t easy. Goody Clancy created the massive draft document over the past year. But the Bureau of Governmental Research has some concerns about it.
They hired their own planning consultant to evaluate it, Paul Sedway, and he said it’s too extensive and confusing.

“It’s akin to Coach Payton being asked to deal not only with offense, defense and special teams, but also with food concessions, parking, ticket prices, advertising and stadium sanitation – and that is not his job,” Sedway said at a BGR breakfast.

“The thing that is so troubling right now is that we have a plan that is so amorphous, and so internally contradictory and so vague that you don’t know what the road is from here to the future,” said Janet Howard, CEO of the BGR.

The master plan creators said that’s good feedback, but they said it’s much more extensive because unlike most cities, New Orleans doesn’t even have a framework to start from, and that city government is so loosely organized that whose responsibility it is to implement certain policies needs to be spelled out.

“It is not immediately clear as it is in most cities, who would pick up a housing policy if it’s in the master plan. How would you bring back a wet neighborhood as it says there is supposed to be in the master plan?” Dixon said.

Even that is something the BGR questions.

“The policies are not adopted by officials but they are delegated and relegated to others, which the BGR calls planning by proxy,” Sedway said.

But it even has the master plan’s author saying it needs more work before it can take another step toward becoming law.

“We’re not finished and we can’t judge. But I would say that we need more time. We are out of time with Goody Clancy, the national expert and we’re out of money for more time,” Clarkson said.

Now, however, she said it’s her job to find it.

There are two more public hearings scheduled. The next is this Friday at City Hall, and the last is on Tuesday, Oct. 27.

Oct 14, 2009

Source: WWLTV

Filed under: Orleans Parish, Planning Issues

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