April 18, 2013
City Council Chamber
City Council April 18, 2013 Regular Meeting Summary
Thursday, April 18, 2013 - New Orleans, LA - At today's regular City Council Meeting, the Council adopted an Ordinance that adopted new rules for the regulation of food trucks. Representatives from Children's Hospital presented information relative to the development of NOAH, and Michoud Assembly Facility officials briefed the Council on the facility's business growth. By Resolution, the Council supported the allocation of funds for emergency preparedness. Jacoby Jones of the Baltimore Ravens was recognized for his professional and philanthropic accomplishments, and the Council congratulated local first responders on their nominations for Telecommunicator of the Year. Lastly, the Council convened an Executive Session to discuss the New Orleans Firefighters Pension and Relief Fund.
Adopted New Regulations Governing Food Trucks
The Council adopted Ordinance Calendar No. 29,497, authored by Council President Head, providing and clarifying rules and regulations governing mobile food vendors in the City.
The laws governing mobile food vendors in New Orleans were originally adopted in 1956 and have remained largely unchanged since that time. The Council recognizes the necessity of updating the laws to keep pace with the rapidly expanding food truck industry, mitigate against potential traffic and public safety issues and account for inflation by increasing the cost of permits.
This Ordinance provides for regulations, restrictions and rules governing:
-Permit application and issuance processes, fees and rules for the 100 renewable permits and 75 conditional non-renewable permits
-Proximity restrictions between food trucks and restaurants open during the time the food truck is operating (minimum distance of 200 feet)
-Definition of areas within which food trucks are prohibited, including the French Quarter, Central Business District and portions of Frenchmen Street
-Vehicle and food handling and safety equipment requirements, including liability and automobile insurance coverage
-Requirements relative to ensuring authorized restroom access (within 300 feet when applicable) and trash management
-Length of time that food trucks are allowed to be parked in one location (4 hours maximum)
-Compliance with rules and regulations of the State Department of Health and Hospitals, and all pertinent City and State laws
-Fines and forfeitures resulting from violations and details on the administrative hearing process
-Permit validity during special events including Mardi Gras and the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival
Members of the New Orleans Food Truck Coalition, as well as local mobile food vendors, business owners, and residents were present to offer their thoughts on the Ordinance. The Council intends to update these laws, study the effects of the updates and then revisit the updates as part of a full rewrite of the applicable Chapter of the City Code.
Council President Head said, "After many months of working with my colleagues on the Council, the Food Truck Coalition, small business development organizations, the Louisiana Restaurant Association, the State Department of Health and Hospitals, and others, I am pleased that we have finally made some long-overdue updates to the City's mobile vending laws."
Addressed Children's Hospital Plans
Children's Hospital Vice President of Marketing, Brian Landry, and Medical Director of Children's Hospital, Dr. Andrew Williams, appeared before the Council to give a presentation on future plans for Children's Hospital and the development of the New Orleans Adolescent Hospital (NOAH). Closed in 2009 as a result of concerns about costs, NOAH treated inpatient and outpatient mentally ill children. Since that time, mentally ill children in need of services were sent to Mandeville and Alexandria to receive care.
Children's Hospital recently signed a lease agreement with the State which specifically requires that the NOAH building be reopened to provide mental health care. However, hospital officials indicated that they signed the lease in order to continue discussions about ultimately purchasing the NOAH property in order to expand general operations, as the property is located nearby the Children's Hospital main location on Henry Clay Avenue. Children's Hospital officials would like the State to lift the requirement that the NOAH site be used expressly for mental health care and allow them to provide mental health services at the Calhoun campus, which presently provides inpatient and outpatient care for children and adolescents.
District "A" Councilmember Guidry said, "Providing the appropriate resources and help needed for children and adolescent adults struggling with mental illness should be a top priority for the City. We encourage the State and Children's Hospital to continue working together to make this a reality."
Honored Super Bowl Champion Jacoby JonesThe Council recognized Baltimore Ravens wide receiver and New Orleans native Jacoby Jones for his team's Super Bowl XLVII win, as well as Jones' contributions to local youth programs. Before transferring to Abramson High School, Jones attended St. Augustine High School where he lettered in football, basketball, and track. After a successful football career at Lane College, Jones was selected by the Houston Texans as a wide receiver and return specialist in the 3rd round of the 2007 NFL Draft.
Five years after signing with the Texans, Jones joined the Baltimore Ravens where he had an immediate impact on the Ravens' offense and special teams, being selected to his first Pro Bowl for the 2012-2013 season and helping the Baltimore Ravens edge out a 34-31 victory over the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII.
In an effort to give back to his community and serve as a role model to local youth, Jones has organized and hosted celebrity basketball games and free youth football camps at Pontchartrain Park, including a free 1-day camp Jones will host at Pontchartrain Park on June 1st. In recognition of the New Orleans Recreation Department's (NORD) dedication to the City's youth, Jones presented NORD Foundation Chairman John Sibal and NORD Commission Chairman Roy Glapion and CEO Vic Richard with a $5,000 donation from the Jacoby Jones Foundation. The NORD representatives in turn presented Jacoby with a piece of turf from the Superdome to commemorate his team's Superbowl win.
Council Vice President Clarkson said, "I am honored to recognize the outstanding achievements, both on and off the field, of this world-class athlete. We are so proud to call Jacoby one of New Orleans' own and we look forward to watching his continued success in the years to come."
Discussed Future Plans for NASA Michoud Assembly Facility
The Council received a presentation from Michoud Assembly Facility (MAF) Director Roy Malone, Chief Operations Officer, Robert Champion, and Deputy Chief Operations Officer Malcolm Wood, regarding the facility's resurgence and growing partnership with the City of New Orleans. The MAF is the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) only large-scale advanced manufacturing facility responsible for building engines and parts for NASA's Space Launch System.
As a result of recent cuts to the NASA space program, the MAF's 5,000 employee workforce was reduced to 600 when the last space shuttle tanks rolled off the assembly lines in 2010, thirty-seven years after the program began. In keeping with NASA's commitment to support the local economy, NASA has been working diligently with the City of New Orleans to attract new business to the MAF.
In 2010, Blade Dynamics set-up a wind turbine blade manufacturing facility in the MAF and committed to create 600 new jobs by 2015. Facility modifications are currently under way at Michoud to prepare for the manufacture of the Space Launch System rocket, which is scheduled for its initial flight in 2017, as well as assembly of liquefied natural gas tanks with commercial applications on Earth. In March 2013, the Council adopted Ordinance No. 25,261 M.C.S., authorizing the continuation of an interagency agreement between the New Orleans Fire Department and NASA to provide emergency and fire protection to the facility, and therefore contributing to the job creation effort.
District "E" Councilmember Gray said, "I applaud the partnership of the Michoud Facility, NASA and the City, and their commitment to bring more businesses to Eastern New Orleans and create new jobs at the MAF. My office will do everything possible to assist them in their economic development efforts and I look forward to working with them to fill the offices at this impressive facility."
Supported Allocation of Funds for Emergency Preparedness
The Council passed Resolution R-13-119, authored by Councilmember Palmer, supporting an amendment to State House Bill 1 to restore the local allocation of the Emergency Management Program Grant (EMPG) monies as allocated in Fiscal Year 2012-2013.
Louisiana State House Bill 1 provides for the ordinary operating expenses of the state government for 2013-2014. House Representative Bryan Adams authored the amendment to ensure that parishes receive the EMPG monies to fund local emergency management operations, as received in Fiscal Year 2012-2013. The EMPG is designed to support State and local emergency management resources relative to disaster preparedness, mitigation, response and recovery.
District "C" Councilmember Palmer said, "It is critical that the state continue to fund emergency preparedness at a proper level. We must ensure that all necessary resources and components are in place to support our City and State's comprehensive disaster and emergency preparedness plans."
First Responders Receive Proclamation
In celebration of National Public Safety Telecommunications week, Council Vice President Clarkson issued Proclamations to local Police, Fire, and EMT employees recognizing their achievements and nominations for Telecommunicator of the Year, an annual ceremony and celebration that honors numerous emergency response men and women. These men and women were recognized and honored for their everyday actions that ensure the safety of Orleans Parish citizens and their property.
Councilmember Clarkson said, "The 9-1-1 call-takers and dispatchers being honored today are our City's first first-responders, and they provide a necessary and crucial link from citizens needing emergency assistance and responders who provide that assistance. All of our 9-1-1 call-takers and dispatchers do their jobs, silently and quietly without acclaim, and they work in one of the most stressful environments. They are truly the unsung heroes of New Orleans!"