April 05, 2012
City Council Chamber
City Council Regular Meeting Summary April 5, 2012New Orleans, LA - April 5, 2012 - Today, the New Orleans City Council adopted an ordinance regulating the placement of loudspeakers to impact noise issues in the French Quarter and the Central Business District. As mandated by the City Charter, the Council received the City Planning Commission's (CPC) Master Plan text and mapping amendment recommendations for the City Master Plan.
The Council received an update from Administrators of the Council's Energy Smart Program and Entergy New Orleans Officials about residential and business conservation efforts throughout the City. A Council ordinance was introduced for consideration that includes a ballot proposal that asks voters to amend the City's Home Rule Charter to change the way the two At-Large Councilmembers are elected.
City Council resolutions were passed recognizing Navy Week 2012 in New Orleans; declaring April National Clergy Month; and, acknowledging the local economic impact of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) 2012 Men's Final Four Basketball Tournament.
In a special appearance in the Council Chamber, the work and individual accomplishments of the first honorees of the Algiers Volunteer Wall of Fame were also highlighted.
Introduced Proposal Requiring Majority of Voters Elect At-Large City CouncilmemberThe Council introduced Ordinance Calendar No.28,977, co-authored by Councilmembers Hedge-Morrell and Granderson that would put before voters a ballot proposition to amend the City's Home Rule Charter to change the way the two At-Large Councilmembers are elected. The amendment would create two distinct At-Large Councilmember offices that are voted on independently of one another. The seats would continue to represent the entire City. All City Charter changes require a vote of the people. Should the proposed ordinance be approved by the Council, the measure would appear on ballots for voter consideration in the November 6th Congressional Election. A Council vote on the proposed ordinance could come later this month at the April 19th regular City Council Meeting.
District "D" Councilmember Hedge Morrell said, "The present system of electing At-Large Councilmembers is flawed, as it does not require a simple majority. This ordinance will establish two distinct At-Large Council offices, A and B that are voted independent of one another. In addition, the ordinance assures transparency in the election process as well as places the New Orleans City Council-At-Large offices in sync with federal, state and local best election practices."
Councilmember At Large Granderson said, "Council At-Large is a city-wide elective office. This amendment would create a more representative process of electing candidates to these positions. All other elected officials in New Orleans, including District Councilmembers, must be elected by a traditional majority, and the At-Large Councilmembers should also be determined by the majority of voters. The present provisions for electing Councilmembers At- Large run contrary to fundamental democratic principles and defy good government practices."
Recognized First Honorees of Algiers Volunteer Wall of Fame
At the request of Council President Clarkson, honorees of the first Algiers Volunteer Wall of Fame appeared before the Council. Emma Bryan, Georgian Bryan, Irene Burrus, Valerie Massimi, and Margie Sherrod were honored for their many years of community service to nonprofit organizations in Algiers and across New Orleans. The recently established Algiers Volunteer Wall of Fame is designed to recognize citizens of Algiers who have maintained a lifelong commitment to community and volunteer service. The Algiers Volunteer Wall of Fame is located at a permanent exhibit in the Algiers Courthouse.
Council President Clarkson said, "Algiers is extremely blessed to have these committed and loving individuals represent their community. These extraordinary women have taken the initiative to make a difference for not only their West Bank neighborhood, but every neighborhood of New Orleans. I am honored to know them and to have worked with them. Thank you for being my friend and a friend of our beloved City and its citizens."
Adopted Loudspeaker Placement Ordinance Impacting French Quarter and CBDThe Council adopted Ordinance Calendar No.28, 967, co-authored by Councilmembers Gisleson Palmer and Head which provides a definition for commercial enterprises with respect to noise-related ordinances and to establish regulations for the placement of loudspeakers in commercial enterprises within the French Quarter and the Central Business District. The measure governs the placement of loudspeakers specifying that they be located within interior walls of a building and must be directionally oriented away from doors, windows or other openings. Penalties for the first violation is $500, for a second violation and any subsequent violation within 12 months of the initial violation, the fine shall be, $500 for each violation.
District "C" Councilmember Gisleson Palmer said, "With the passage of this ordinance, we have taken a first step to update the existing noise abatement ordinance. The goal throughout this process has been to balance the needs and concerns of the residents and businesses in the French Quarter and the CBD. As we review existing noise abatement laws, I will continue all efforts to engage the public regarding noise issues keeping in mind commercial and residential interests."
District "B" Councilmember Head said, "This is an excellent first step in getting a handle on noise related issues that are often challenging to regulate in neighborhoods with strong residential and commercial mixes. I am committed to continuing to work on noise abatement issues that come before the Council keeping in mind business and resident concerns."
Received City Master Plan Amendments for Consideration
The City Planning Commission (CPC) submitted to the City Council its final Master Plan amendment recommendations under the first new City Master Plan amendment process. The City Charter now requires a mandatory review of the Master Plan document for possible amendment at least once every five years, but not more than once per calendar year and at any time in response to a disaster or other declared emergency. The public application process for proposing amendments to the Master Plan text and the Future Land Use Map (FLUM) was held June-August of 2011. In the fall of 2011, the City Planning Commission conducted a public outreach effort which included public notices and community meetings to review and offer input on proposed amendments. The CPC held formal public hearings and the CPC staff evaluated amendment requests making final recommendations to the Planning Commission earlier this year. During this first amendment process, CPC received from the public 19 requests to amend the text of the Master Plan and 53 requests to amend the Future Land Use Map (FLUM). The CPC staff proposed over 700 amendments to the FLUM. The City Council has 90 days to adopt, reject or modify the submitted amendments.
City Council Chief of Staff Evelyn Pugh said, "Over the next few months, the Council will carefully review these amendment recommendations. This is the first time that the Council and CPC have embarked on this City Charter mandated amendment process under the City's new Master Plan. The process has gone smoothly and we commend the CPC and its staff for their guidance, professional insight and extraordinary attention to detail."
Proclaimed NOLA Navy Week 2012 (April 17-23)
United States Navy Rear Admiral Ann Claire Phillips, United States Navy Commander Timothy Riegle and New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation Executive Director Mark Romig appeared before the City Council to discuss NOLA Navy Week 2012 April 17 - 23, 2012. The Navy is kicking off a three-year national celebration commemorating the War of 1812 and the Star Spangled Banner Bicentennial. New Orleans is the inaugural City of a national celebration that includes commemorations on the Atlantic Coast in New York, Norfolk, Baltimore, Boston, and New London, Connecticut and in the Great Lakes region in Milwaukee, Chicago, Toledo, Cleveland, Detroit, and Buffalo. The bicentennial events will conclude in the Crescent City in 2015 in a final celebration of the bicentennial of the Battle of New Orleans. NOLA Navy Week 2012 will feature a colorful spectacle of tall ships and modern warships on the East Bank of the Mississippi River from Erato Street to Upper Poland Avenue. As a part of NOLA Navy Week, sailors, marines and coast guardsmen will be participating in community service projects across New Orleans. Throughout the week, residents and visitors will have opportunities to tour the ships and learn about the history and mission of the U.S. Navy. For additional information visit the NOLA Navy Week 2012 website www.nolanavyweek.com.
In conjunction with Navy Week 2012, the Council passed Resolution R-12-117, co-authored by Council President Clarkson and Councilmembers Granderson, Guidry, Gisleson Palmer, Head, Hedge-Morrell and Johnson, recognizing the historical contributions of the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marines and the U.S. Coast Guard; applauding the service and dedication of the men and women of the Navy and Coast Guard and welcoming visitors and participants to the City of New Orleans for the spectacle celebration of NOLA Navy Week 2012.
Council President Clarkson said, "As always, we are enormously proud to have representatives of the United States Navy in the chamber today and to have the opportunity to highlight the important events commemorating the Bicentennial of the War of 1812 and the historically significant role played by the Navy and the City of New Orleans. New Orleans has always been proud of its naval history and this international event reminds the world that New Orleans has always been a first-class military support City."
Updated Energy Smart Conservation Efforts
At the request of Councilmember Guidry, Administrators of the Council's Energy Smart Program and Entergy New Orleans Officials appeared before the Council to provide an update on conservation efforts throughout the city. The Energy Smart Program offers rebates and incentives to Entergy New Orleans electric customers for energy audits, high-performance A/C tune-ups, ceiling and wall insulation, duct and home leakage sealing, solar water heating and installation of compact fluorescent light bulbs. The Energy Smart Program is now providing rebates to Entergy New Orleans electric residential customers who upgrade window air conditioners or invest in central A/C units and A/C tune-ups. For additional information about the programs and incentives to conserve energy visit the Energy Smart website at www.energysmartnola.info.
District "A" Councilmember Guidry said, "The Council's Energy Smart Program is providing cutting-edge energy efficiency assessments and incentives to help residents and businesses save energy and money. This conservation program is truly working on behalf of all of the citizens of New Orleans. Since its 2011 launch, the program has reached over 8,000 residential and business participants. We look forward to continuing to see the results and benefits of this program."
District "D" Councilmember Hedge-Morrell said, "I am generally pleased with the results that the Energy Smart Program has shown. However, I urge Entergy and the Energy Smart Program Administrators to continue aggressive outreach efforts to ensure that all of our citizens are aware of the benefits from this valuable program."
Declared April National Clergy Month
The Council passed Resolution R-12-110, co-authored by Councilmember Johnson, Hedge- Morrell, Guidry, Gisleson Palmer, Head, Granderson and Clarkson which declares the month of April as "Clergy Appreciation Month." The church is a constant beacon of spiritual guidance and humanity and the very foundation upon which our country was built. The leadership provided by the church is a direct result of its clergy. Our clergy has served a pivotal role in uplifting the community in difficult times and serving our neediness citizens by providing shelter for the homeless, feeding the hungry, visiting the sick, and providing educational facilities for the youth.
District "E" Councilmember Johnson said, "Our men and women of the clergy always demonstrate the dedication and work ethic necessary to proclaim the goodness of God. They unfailingly serve and minister to the people of New Orleans. Therefore, I am proud to declare the month of April as a special reminder of the gifts, contributions and love of the clergy."
Touted the Economic Impact of the NCAA Final Four Men's Basketball Tournament
The Council passed Resolution R-12-113, authored by Council President Clarkson that touted the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) for the economic impact made by the 2012 Men's Final Four College Basketball Tournament to the New Orleans economy and the tourism and hospitality industry. The 2012 NCAA Men's Final Four Tournament, held in the City March 31 - April 2, is estimated to have had a $134 million economic impact and shined the national spotlight on New Orleans, showing it again as a premiere destination for families and sports enthusiasts.
Council President Clarkson said, "The City of New Orleans is grateful to the NCAA for allowing our City to play host to the Men's Collegiate Final Four Basketball Tournament this year. Our City is sincerely grateful for your presence in the Crescent City and the contributions made to the local economy and the promotion of the New Orleans tourism and hospitality industry."