August 22, 2013
City Council Chamber
City Council August 22, 2013 Regular Meeting Summary
Thursday, August 22, 2013 - New Orleans, LA - At today's regular City Council Meeting, the Council passed a resolution approving the new RTA fare structure for ferry services. The Council also adopted ordinances to include the Neighborhood Participation Program in the Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance and amend the City Code relative to minimum property maintenance standards and administrative adjudication process for violations. Resolutions were passed designating Hurricane Preparedness Day and calling upon Congress to prioritize economic revitalization.
In other business, the Council congratulated Allen Toussaint for receiving the 2012 National Medal of Arts, honored several alumni of Gilbert Academy, and recognized the contributions of community and business leader Harold "Hal" Brown.
Called Upon Congress to Prioritize Economic RevitalizationThe Council passed Resolution R-13-299, co-authored by Councilmembers Gray and Cantrell, calling on Congress to adopt Federal budget policies that prioritize the revitalization of the economy through job creation and investment in education; avoid cuts to Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid benefits or shifting of costs to the states; resist cuts to the safety net or to vital services for disadvantaged members of society; and restructure our tax system so that each person and corporation pays a fair share.
District "E" Councilmember Gray said, "Our Federal government is in the process of making some critical decisions about the nation's budget and fiscal policies and we want to encourage them to focus on putting Americans back to work. This must be a top priority during this period of economic recovery."
District "B" Councilmember Cantrell said, "A large portion of the jobs in our City and our nation are skilled jobs. It is vital that we invest in education and vocational training programs in order to support the revitalization of our country's workforce."
Included Neighborhood Participation Program in Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance
The Council adopted Ordinance Calendar No. 29,570, authored by Councilmember Clarkson, amending the Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance of the City to include the Neighborhood Participation Program for Land Use Actions notification provisions. The City Planning Commission recommended the text amendment for approval in its report to the City Council on April 1, 2013.
The included provisions require all applications for zoning map amendments, conditional use permits, planned development districts, permits for the transfer of development rights, variances, expansions of existing industrial uses, and electric substation and transmission facilities to include a Project Neighborhood Participation Program (Project NPP). The Project NPP must include a description of the proposal, project start and end dates, site plans (when applicable), outlined area map, description of public notification methods relative to distribution of project information and changes, and contact list for notifying all property owners located within 300 feet of the proposed project, or within 600 feet if the project involves a site of 25,000 square feet or more in area or floor space.
Applicants must provide notice and an opportunity for interested parties to attend a meeting to discuss the proposed application and must submit a Project NPP report with their application, containing a list of concerns, issues, and problems expressed by attendees of the meeting, and the ways in which they will be addressed by the applicant.
Council President Clarkson said, "The purpose of this amendment is not to deter or impede development, but to encourage neighborhoods to help bring businesses to their area that are compatible with residential integrity."
Amended City Code Re: Minimum Property Maintenance Standards and Administrative Adjudication Process for Violations
The Council passed Ordinance Calendar No. 29,674, co-authored by Councilmembers Gisleson Palmer, Head and Cantrell, to amend City Code Chapter 26 regarding minimum property maintenance standards. Specifically, the Ordinance establishes the Minimum Property Maintenance Code, the purpose of which is to protect the health, safety and welfare of the public insofar as they are affected by the maintenance of structures and premises, residential and nonresidential, occupied and vacant. The Ordinance delineates the requirements governing exterior property area, interior and exterior structure, and interior facilities, and outlines methods of enforcement, fees, costs and penalties.
The Council also passed Ordinance Calendar No. 29,675, co-authored by Councilmembers Gisleson Palmer, Head and Cantrell, to amend City Code Chapter 6 regarding administrative adjudications for violations of public health, housing, environmental, historic district, nuisance or vegetation ordinances, the City's Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance, the City's Building Code, or the City's Fire Code. The Code amendments establish procedures, fees, costs and penalties relative to the administrative adjudication process.
These Chapters of the City Code are being amended in advance of the expiration on August 31, 2013 of City Code Chapter 28, which contains language governing the issues addressed by Chapters 6 and 26. Chapter 28 was created shortly after Hurricane Katrina in an effort to govern certain City issues directly affected by the storm's aftermath and the City's ongoing recovery.
Council Vice President Head said, "We have made great strides in blight reduction in recent years, but there is still more work to be done. This series of ordinances is a comprehensive and welcome first step toward amending the code to afford the City more reasonable and effective tools to combat blight."
Congratulated Allen Toussaint on National Arts AwardRenowned musician Allen Toussaint appeared before the Council today to be congratulated on receiving the 2012 National Medal of Arts from President Obama last month. Toussaint received the award in recognition of his work as a composer, producer and performer. Councilmembers also recognized Toussaint's many contributions to rhythm and blues music.
Council President Clarkson said, "We are so proud to honor you for receiving the 2012 National Arts Award presented by President Obama. We are honored to have you here in the Council Chamber today and we want to thank you for your many contributions to our City's rich musical history. Your accomplishments and awards are too many to list and we are so grateful to have you as an ambassador of New Orleans."
Designated Hurricane Preparedness DayThe Council passed Resolution R-13-302, introduced by Councilmember Hedge-Morrell, designating Sunday, August 25, 2013 as Hurricane Preparedness Day.
Specifically, the Resolution asks all churches, synagogues, community centers, neighborhood associations, schools and community leaders to prioritize the readiness of all citizens for emergencies by assisting them with developing evacuation plans, and securing non-perishable food items, medicines and other essential items.
District "D" Councilmember Hedge-Morrell said, "As the eighth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina approaches, we are reminded of the importance of being prepared for emergencies, particularly during hurricane season. Through our partnership with community leaders and neighborhood organizations, we aim to make hurricane preparedness a priority for all our citizens."
Honored Alumni of Gilbert AcademyAlumni of Gilbert Academy, including the Academy's Alumni Association President Reverend Andrew Douglas, appeared before the Council today to discuss the Academy's history and plans for the upcoming reunion.
Gilbert Academy, which was started in 1865 and closed in 1949, was a private school for African Americans located on St. Charles Avenue in uptown New Orleans on the site now occupied by De La Salle High School. Gilbert Academy alumni include Audrey "Mickey" Patterson, the first African American woman to win an Olympic medal, musicians Ellis Marsalis and Harold Battiste, and former UN ambassador Andrew Young.
Council President Clarkson said, "Gilbert Academy has a wonderful history and an educational legacy that lives on through its alumni and their many accomplishments. The alumni's dedication to carrying on the school's traditions and their dedication to serving as role models for our youth is truly admirable."
Recognized Contributions of Business and Community LeaderFamily members, friends and colleagues were present at today's Council Meeting to share memories of the late Harold "Hal" Brown and his work throughout the City. Brown was a native of New Orleans, graduate of St. Augustine High School and Xavier University, and earned a master's degree in urban planning at the University of California, Los Angeles.
After returning to New Orleans in 2005, Brown was dedicated to rebuilding the City through his work with programs such as the Horizon Initiative, the New Orleans Business Alliance, New Orleans College Prep, the Louisiana Association of Public Charter Schools, Broad Street Community Connections, the Preservation Resource Center, the New Orleans African American Museum and many more.
Councilmember Head said, "Hal made so many significant contributions to our City and was truly dedicated to ensuring that New Orleans came back stronger after Katrina. He was always the one working behind the scenes and we want to publicly recognize his many years of hard work. He will truly be missed."
Approved New RTA Fare Structure for Ferry Services
The Council approved Resolution R-13-293, co-authored by Councilmembers Gisleson Palmer and Clarkson, approving the proposed Regional Transit Authority (RTA) Fare Structure for ferry services, effective October 1, 2013.
Per the Transit Agreement executed by the RTA and the City in 1983, the RTA is required to seek City Council approval for changing any fare. In June of this year, the Council adopted Motion M-13-193, supporting the immediate setting of the fares to ensure the continued operation without interruption of the New Orleans ferry system.
District "C" Councilmember Gisleson Palmer said, "The continued operation of our ferries is crucial to ensuring that we have a fully functioning and efficient urban transportation system. Our ferries, along with our streetcars, not only provide our citizens and visitors with a unique experience but also contribute to the distinct character of our City."