March 12, 2015
City Council Chamber
City Council March 12, 2015 Regular Meeting News Summary
Thursday, March 12, 2015 - New Orleans, LA - At today's regular City Council meeting, the Council introduced on first reading the Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance. In addition, the Council approved zoning changes clearing the path for the redevelopment of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church and the Vaucresson Sausage Company property in the 7th Ward and the redevelopment of a blighted gas station on Esplanade Avenue and N. Rampart Street.
The Council adopted a motion to establish the Historic Preservation Review Committee. The Council also adopted ordinances allowing the issuance of special temporary CPNCs and revising the for-hire vehicle inspection process.
In other business, the Council issued proclamations recognizing the New Orleans Black Indian Alliance.
Path Cleared for Redevelopment of Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church and Vaucresson Sausage Company Property in the 7th Ward
The Council approved a zoning change to a Neighborhood Business District and a Mixed-Use Planned Community District clearing the way for the redevelopment of Our Lady of Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church and the Vaucresson Sausage Company property on St. Bernard Avenue and Onzaga Streets. This mixed-income housing and community based retail project brings back the Sacred Heart Church, which has been vacant for the past 30 years, and revitalizes an area that is underserved. This project also includes the redevelopment of the historic Vaucresson Sausage Company property. The business ceased operations at this site due to the flooding caused by Katrina. Redevelopment of this property is expected to generate new jobs in construction, property management and retail - a total of 25-31 permanent jobs and 60-90 construction jobs. The development team is Columbia Residential, Providence Community Housing, Urban Focus Louisiana and the Vaucresson Family. Click here for additional details about the project.
District "D" Councilmember Brossett said, "This is a very exciting project for the 7th Ward neighborhood. The redevelopment of these iconic properties will provide immediate construction jobs and permanent property management and retail positions. It is exactly what this neighborhood needs - mixed-use - housing and commercial space that will revitalize an important historic and culturally rich community."
Allowed Issuance of Special Temporary CPNCs and Revised For-Hire Vehicle Inspection Processes
The Council adopted Ordinance Calendar No. 30,590, authored by Councilmember Brossett, allowing for the issuance of temporary Certificates of Public Necessity (CPNC) in times of special needs and events. The temporary certificates commence at noon the day before the special event or time period of need and end at noon the following day. Temporary CPNCs will only be issued for properly licensed vehicles that are registered, insured, and in compliance with inspection standards. Drivers of the vehicles must be properly licensed to receive a temporary certificate.
The Council also adopted Ordinance Calendar No. 30,592, authored by Councilmember Brossett, revising the regulation process relative to the inspection of for-hire vehicles. The ordinance allows CPNC holders to designate employees to deliver vehicles to the Taxicab and For-Hire Bureau for required semi-annual inspections. Prior to the inspection, CPNC holders must notify the Taxicab and For-Hire Bureau of the designated employee's name and position. The Taxicab and For-Hire Bureau must maintain a list of designated employees authorized to deliver vehicles.
District "D" Councilmember Brossett said, "These transportation ordinances tighten public safety regulations and alleviate pressure on transportation systems during special events. Our overarching goal is to improve the quality of our City's transportation systems for residents and visitors."
Recognized the New Orleans Black Indian Alliance
The City Council by proclamation recognized the New Orleans Black Indian Alliance (NOBIA) for its efforts in promoting the educational advancement, cultural significance, and historical relevance of Black Indians in New Orleans. The NOBIA strives to uplift and share African-American culture, practices, and rituals while serving as ambassadors for the City of New Orleans throughout the world.
Council President Head said, "The NOBIA has done an extraordinary job documenting the New Orleans Black Indians' history and it was an honor for the Council to hear from several of their esteemed ambassadors today. The NOBIA reminds us again of our City's storied history, vibrant culture and unique traditions that we must celebrate and protect for future generations to enjoy."
Redevelopment of Blighted Gas Station Moving Forward
The Council approved the conceptual design and change of use application for properties located at 1036 and 1040 Esplanade Avenue, moving forward the development of Café Habana, a Cuban restaurant. This project will redevelop a blighted gas station that has remained vacant for over three decades. The current zoning law allows for the proposed standard restaurant use. There will not be any additions or new structures built, nor will there be any demolitions to the current structure.
District "C" Councilmember Ramsey said, "Café Habana has received extensive vetting and review. Both the Vieux Carre Commission (VCC) and the City Planning Commission (CPC) have recommended approval. I am confident that Café Habana will be a unique place and a wonderful addition to the already thriving neighborhood."
Introduced Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance on First Reading
The Council introduced on first reading the Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance (CZO). The City's Home Rule Charter requires that a Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance (CZO) be adopted and that it be consistent with the Master Plan. After several years of development, including many public meetings, the City Planning Commission (CPC) recommended and the Council approved as recommended the CPC's draft of the CZO on October 24, 2014. As the final legislative step in the CZO adoption process, the Council has now introduced and will consider an ordinance to officially adopt the new CZO and replace the current CZO in its entirety.
The Council also adopted Motion M-15-101, suspending City Council Rule 41 for purposes of Ordinance Calendar No 30,637 (CZO) only. City Council Rule 41 requires that at least 35 hard copies of every proposed ordinance, motion, or resolution be furnished to the Clerk of Council. Due to the length of the CZO, hard copy printing costs would be a financial burden on the Council. For the convenience of the public, CZO texts and maps will be available at the Clerk of Council's office March 13, and amendments proposed by Councilmembers and the Administration will be made available for download on the Council's website and at the Clerk of Council's office beginning on Monday, March 16, 2015, and as they are submitted by Councilmembers.
For a complete timeline regarding the CZO process, click here.
Created the Historic Preservation Review Committee
The Council adopted Motion M-15-100, co-authored by Councilmembers Head, Cantrell and Guidry, creating a Historic Preservation Review Committee, to consider the appropriateness of expanding the Historic Districts Landmark Commission's (HDLC) jurisdiction. The committee will study the expansion of HDLC jurisdiction to cover all properties within the National Register of Historic Places district boundaries in the Uptown and Carrollton Historic Districts. The committee will consist of seven members appointed by the Mayor and confirmed by the Council.
District "A" Councilmember Guidry said, "Preserving these historic neighborhoods is important to strengthening the City's economic base and retaining the character and charm of the Uptown and Carrollton neighborhoods. This committee will assist us in determining whether extending the HDLC's jurisdiction will support these goals."