In The News › Public meetings start for New Orleans’ proposed comprehensive zoning ordinance

Sep 12, 2011

Source: The Times-Picayune

Filed under: Orleans Parish, Planning Issues, Zoning

Public meetings start for New Orleans’ proposed comprehensive zoning ordinance

Monday, September 12, 2011
By Bruce Eggler
The Times-Picayune

The City Planning Commission today launches a series of public meetings to gather comments on a proposed draft of New Orleans’ new comprehensive zoning ordinance. The mostly informal meetings will be held at 10 sites citywide through Sept. 27.

At each session, a presentation will be made 30 minutes after the doors open. The public will be able to view the proposed law’s text and maps, talk with city planners and submit written comments.
The document also is available for review at or at

Creation of the new zoning law is the second half of a process that began with adoption last year of the city’s first master plan for long-term development. Together, the two documents will significantly change the way New Orleans regulates land use.

Comments on dozens of suggested amendments to the master plan will also be accepted at the same public meetings at which the draft zoning law will be considered.

The comprehensive zoning ordinance, or CZO, determines where new residential or commercial development can take place, where buildings can be placed on lots, how large new buildings can be and how existing buildings can be altered.

The new law will spell out in detail what the broad land-use principles and map designations in the master plan mean to someone wanting to erect a building or open a business on a particular piece of property — or to a neighbor seeking to block such a move.

“Designed to be user-friendly and intuitive, the new CZO is one of the many steps the city is taking to shape its future,” said Craig Mitchell, chairman of the City Planning Commission. “Public participation in this chapter of our history is not only welcomed, it is crucial.”

There has long been widespread agreement that the city needs a new zoning ordinance.

A 2003 study by the Bureau of Governmental Research said the current CZO, written about 40 years ago and since amended hundreds of times, is “incoherent, overamended, outdated and vague,” and that “interpreting (it) is well beyond the reach of the typical developer, not to mention the average citizen.”

The new CZO, according to the planning commission, provides “regulations which emphasize the maintenance or creation of walkable environments that reflect the desired character of residential neighborhoods (and) pedestrian-friendly commercial building fronts.”

The regulations “make allowance for mixed uses in specific locations, and provide flexible parking provisions which minimize the dominance of parking lots in favor of buildings which front on the street.”

The new document contains an extensive list of definitions, to minimize ambiguity, and numerous illustrations and charts to help users understand what it does and doesn’t allow.

The schedule of public meetings is:

  • Today, 5:30-8 p.m., for Planning District 6 (Gentilly), at Southern University at New Orleans’ gym, 6400 Press Drive.

  • Tuesday, 5:30-8 p.m., for Planning Districts 9, 10 and 11 (Eastern New Orleans), at Schaumburg School, 9501 Grant St.

  • Wednesday, 5:30-8 p.m., for Planning District 1 (CBD and French Quarter), at the Pan-American Life Building, 601 Poydras St., 11th floor.

  • Thursday, 5:30-8 p.m., for Planning Districts 12 and 13 (Algiers and English Turn), at the Behrman Center, 2529 Gen. Meyer Ave.

  • Sept. 19, 6-9 p.m., for Planning District 2 (Central City, Garden District and Irish Channel), at the Dryades YMCA, 2220 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd.

  • Sept. 20, 5:30-8 p.m., for Planning District 4 (Mid-City, Treme and Gert Town), at the Sojourner Truth Center, 2220 Lafitte St.

  • Sept. 21, 5:30-8 p.m., for Planning District 3 (Uptown and Carrollton), at the Jewish Community Center, 5342 St. Charles Ave.

  • Sept. 22, 5:30-8 p.m., for Planning District 7 (Marigny, Bywater and Desire), at Franklin Avenue Baptist Church, 2515 Franklin Ave.

  • Sept. 26, 5:30-8 p.m., for Planning District 5 (Lake Area and Parkview), at the Christopher Room, 6254 Vicksburg St.

  • Sept. 27, 5:30-8 p.m., for Planning District 8 (Lower 9th Ward), at Martin Luther King Charter School, 1617 Caffin St.

After the informal public meetings, the planning commission will hold formal public hearings and vote on the zoning ordinance, which then needs approval by the City Council.

. . . . . . . .

For more information about the CZO, call the City Planning Commission at 504.658.7033 or email comments to

Sep 12, 2011

Source: The Times-Picayune

Filed under: Orleans Parish, Planning Issues, Zoning

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