February 21, 2013
City Council Chamber
City Council February 21, 2013 Regular Meeting SummaryThursday, February 21, 2013 - New Orleans, LA - At today's regular City Council Meeting, the Council adopted an ordinance that provides new rules and procedures for the "Lot Next Door" program. By resolution, the Council also supported the creation of the Faubourg St. John Cultural District. Iconic New Orleans restaurateur and civic and community leader, Leah Chase, was honored. On the occasion of its 25th Anniversary, OffBeat Magazine founder Jan Ramsey was recognized. And, Kim Boyle, Executive Committee Chair of the New Orleans Women's Final Four Community Advisory Committee showcased community and fan events in conjunction with the 2013 NCAA Women's Final Four Basketball Tournament.
Authorized New Rules and Procedures for the "Lot Next Door" Program
The Council adopted Ordinance Calendar No. 29,397, co-authored by Council President Head and Councilmember Gisleson Palmer, that provides new rules and procedures for new "Lot Next Door" applications. The measure also grandfathers in pending program applications under the existing rules and regulations and provides a termination date for the "Lot Next Door" program. The ordinance requires that an eligible "Lot Next Door" buyer be the owner of a residentially zoned property that shares a common boundary with a "Lot Next Door" property and is not encumbered with outstanding property taxes or municipal lien violations. The New Orleans Redevelopment Authority (NORA), the agency that administers the program, will be required to publish online the rules and regulations of the "Lot Next Door" program and take reasonable steps to publicly advertise the availability of "Lot Next Door" properties. A deadline of August 1, 2013 has been set for eligible "Lot Next Door" buyers to notify NORA in writing and provide required documentation of the intent to purchase a property. If there is only one interested buyer, the property will be sold to that buyer at fair market value, or if the buyer qualifies as low-to-moderate income, the property will be sold to that buyer at a discount. If there are two or more interested buyers, NORA will solicit sealed bids and sell the property to the highest bidder over the fair market value. The purchaser will be required within twelve months of the act of sale to bring the property into compliance with current housing, health and safety codes. Any eligible "Lot Next Door" property that has not garnered the interest of a purchaser by August 1st will be removed from the "Lot Next Door" program, and the "Lot Next Door" program will terminate on January 1, 2014.
Council President Head said, "The original intent of the 'Lot Next Door' program was to reduce blight by returning former Louisiana Road Home properties to commerce and preserve neighborhood quality by providing a preference to neighbors. The time is appropriate to bring the program to a close. However, over the next few months, additional buyers will have the opportunity to participate while pending applications will proceed under NORA's existing program rules and regulations."
District "C" Councilmember Gisleson Palmer said, "I am excited about this opportunity to get more properties into the hands of residents. Selling 'Lot Next Door' property will put these lots back on the tax rolls, and build equity and wealth in our neighborhoods while alleviating the burden of the city having to maintain the properties."
Supported Creation of the Faubourg St. John Cultural District
The Council passed Resolution R-13-54, co-authored by Councilmembers Guidry and Gisleson Palmer, that supports the creation of the Louisiana Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism certified cultural district located in Council Districts "A" and "C." The application created the Faubourg St. John Cultural District. The Faubourg St. John Cultural District's geographic area is generally comprised of the area within the boundaries of Carrollton, Orleans, Broad, and Onzaga. The state certified cultural districts are a mechanism for community revitalization through the creation of hubs of cultural activity. Within the boundaries tax incentives may be available including, sales tax exemption on the sale of certain original works of art; individual income tax credits for eligible expenses of certain owner-occupied residential or owner-occupied mixed use structures; and income and corporate franchise tax credits for eligible expenses incurred during the rehabilitation of certain historic structures.
District "A" Councilmember Guidry said, "The new Faubourg St. John Cultural District will support economic and cultural growth. This program is a perfect economic development incentive for the City because it sustains and develops the rich historic traditions that New Orleans embodies."
Honored Iconic Restaurateur and Civic and Community Leader Leah Chase
On the occasion of her 90th Birthday and the inauguration of the Edgar "Dooky" Jr. and Leah Chase Family Foundation, the Council honored iconic restaurateur and civic and community leader Leah Chase. Leah Chase and her husband, Edgar "Dooky" Chase, Jr., own and operate the famous Dooky Chase restaurant on Orleans Avenue. Founded in 1941 by Dooky Chase, Sr. as a small sandwich shop, Dooky Chase's has transformed itself into a neighborhood landmark and a favorite New Orleans dining experience. Besides cooking some of the City's best creole cuisine, the Chases are known for their years of advocacy for civil equality and inclusion, especially during the early days of the Civil Rights movement. In addition to the preservation of Creole Cuisine, the Chase Family has contributed to the City's community, philanthropic and civic life and its music, art and cultural scene. The loving and generous nature of the Chase family has been solidified with the recent creation of the Edgar "Dooky" Jr. and Leah Chase Family Foundation. The foundation will cultivate and support historically disenfranchised organizations by making significant contributions to education, creative and culinary arts and social justice programs and organization in the New Orleans community.
District "A" Councilmember Guidry said, "It is a privilege to have our friend and mentor, the remarkable Leah Chase, in the Council Chamber. The Council celebrates her 90th Birthday and the contributions and impact that she and her family have had on life in New Orleans. We are all profoundly grateful to know and love Leah."
Recognized OffBeat Magazine's 25th AnniversaryThe Council recognized OffBeat Magazine, the definitive guide to the New Orleans music scene, on its 25th anniversary. OffBeat Magazine is arguably the foremost authority on New Orleans and Louisiana music and is one of the world's longest-running jazz and roots music publications. The magazine was founded in 1988 by New Orleans native Jan Ramsey, a music lover and musician. Over the years, OffBeat grew rapidly following the pace at which the music scene in New Orleans traveled. From the daily live shows in the French Quarter to sold-out concerts in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, OffBeat covers the entire musical spectrum that lives in the heart of the City.
District "C" Councilmember Gisleson Palmer said, "OffBeat Magazine has been and continues to be the ultimate source and historical record of the growth and impact of the music industry in New Orleans. It all begins and ends with Jan Ramsey and her team. I am pleased to recognize OffBeat for giving a voice to musicians and for making an indelible contribution to the City's music industry."
Showcased Community and Fan Events for the 2013 NCAA Women's Final Four Basketball Tournament
Kim Boyle, Executive Committee Chair of the New Orleans Women's Final Four Community Advisory Committee, presented before the Council showcasing the community and fan events in conjunction with the NCAA Women's Final Four Basketball Tournament. The community and fan events will begin on Friday, April 5th and continue through Tuesday, April 9th. For a full list of events click here. On Sunday April 7th, the final four teams will play semi-final matches at the New Orleans Arena. The winners will continue on to the championship game to be held on Tuesday, April 9th. This will be the third time New Orleans has hosted the Women's Final Four since the series began in 1982. The previous tournaments were held in 1991 and 2004. The tournament is a collaborative project of the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation, the Sugar Bowl Committee and Tulane University. The City is expected to have 30,000 visitors for the tournament, and the event is estimated to have an economic impact of $20 million.
District "A" Councilmember Guidry said, "The Women's Final Four is an exciting tournament for the City to host and its calendar of community-focused outreach events ensures that we will have strong local participation. I am honored to serve as a member of the Community Advisory Committee along with Chair Kim Boyle and other accomplished citizens."