In The News › Public urges continued say in the planning process

Mar 7, 2007

Source: Times-Picayune

Public urges continued say in the planning process

Public urges continued say in the planning process

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Residents voiced support Wednesday for a $14 billion recovery blueprint
making its way through city government, saying its not perfect but workable. And they asked that
the public continue to have a say in how the city — and their neighborhoods — ultimately will look.

“I do not believe we should say, ‘Stop this and start over’,” John Pecoul told the city planning
commission. If the panel were to do that, a year-and-a-half after Hurricane Katrina and after
months-long planning process billed as the most comprehensive here since the storm, it would be
an insult to residents who participated in myriad public meetings, he said.

The comments came at a public hearing on the Unified New Orleans Plan, and just days after a
local watchdog group released a report calling the draft muddled and urging city planners to take
the best parts of it to write a more cohesive and realistic plan.

Commissioner Timothy Jackson said planning officials would work public comments and any other
changes into a version of the Unified plan that the panel likely will consider for approval next month
at the earliest.

The city’s recovery director this week said he and planning officials also were working from the
Unified plan to set recovery priorities and chart a course for how and where rebuilding should
occur and how that work would be funded.

Janet Howard, president of the nonprofit Bureau of Governmental Research, reiterated the
watchdog group’s position Wednesday before a crowded audience at City Hall. She said that
neither the private consultants nor citizens involved in the planning process made “hard choices”
about how New Orleans — particularly, in areas deemed at high-risk for future flooding — should
look. She called the plan vague almost to the point of being incomprehensible, on issues such as
where streets or utilities will be rebuilt.

Troy Henry, the Unified plan’s project manager, said BGR seemed to be promoting a smaller city
footprint, a notion that’s almost become taboo in post-Katrina New Orleans. He said planners tried
to be innovative in suggesting ways to revive neighborhoods, with such things as incentive-based
programs to cluster homes or encourage they be raised. “We felt this plan ought to be a plan for
ALL of New Orleans, not just some of New Orleans,” he said.

Howard, in an interview, said BGR had taken no position on the footprint issue and just wants
more clarity in the vision for a future New Orleans.

Mar 7, 2007

Source: Times-Picayune

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