Regular Meeting

January 24, 2019 10:00 AM

City Council Chamber

View Agenda (PDF) View Agenda (MS Word) View completed agenda View agenda with attachments


NEW ORLEANS - At today's regular Council meeting, the Council approved a zoning change to incorporate recommendations listed in the Smart Housing Mix, adopted a resolution calling upon the National Football League (NFL) to ignite a thorough review of officiating rules following Sunday's NFC Championship, passed an ordinance to create a special Infrastructure Maintenance Fund for the City of New Orleans, supported the establishment of the Algiers Interim Zoning District (IZD), and adopted a resolution to legalize and regulate statewide sports betting to support early childhood education.

Additionally, the Council heard presentations from Citizen SHE United on its work to support female leaders of color, the Youth Empowerment Project (YEP) on its 2018 Annual Report and priorities for the coming year, and the Greater New Orleans Human Trafficking Task Force on recent trends and anti-trafficking initiatives.

The Council with Melissa Sawyer, Jerome Jupiter and Darrin McCall of YEP New Orleans (left) and Nia Weeks of Citizen SHE United (right)

Zoning Change Approved to Incorporate Smart Housing Mix Recommendations

The Council approved an amendment to the City's Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance (CZO) to incorporate certain recommendations and initiatives contained in the "Smart Housing Mix Ordinance Study," including the creation of mandatory inclusionary base zoning sub-districts, as recommended by the City Planning Commission (CPC) staff. All developments including new construction, substantial improvements, expansion, mixed-use projects, or changes in use that contain 10 or more multi-family units must provide affordable housing.  

The Smart Housing Mix is a citywide policy plan to create more affordable housing by leveraging market rate development activity. In 2016, the Council directed the CPC to study the creation and implementation of a Smart Housing Mix based on an analysis and recommendations by national consulting firms engaged by HousingNOLA and the Greater New Orleans Housing Alliance (GNOHA).

In August, the Council tasked the CPC staff with studying three types of "inclusionary zoning" policies as part of the creation of the Smart Housing Mix. The zoning docket (ZD 112/18) approved today captures the following three mandatory inclusionary zoning initiatives:

  • Establishment of a Mandatory Inclusionary Zoning Overlay District
    • Amends the CZO to institute a mandatory inclusionary zoning requirement via an overlay district in certain areas of the city whereby disparities in affordable and workforce housing options exist, which requires a mandatory affordable and workforce housing component for all properties
  • Creation of a New Mandatory Inclusionary Base Zoning District
    • Amends the CZO to institute a new zoning district and correlating map changes for certain areas of the city with disparities in affordable and workforce housing options to require a mandatory affordable and workforce housing component for all applicable developments, the minimum threshold and applicability of which will be initially recommended by the CPC; regardless of if the development is new construction or rehabilitation, and offered for rent or for sale.
  • Creation of a Mandatory Inclusionary Zoning Planned Development Classification
    • Amends the CZO to create a new Planned Development type that permits flexibility in zoning regulations for projects incorporating affordable and workforce housing components, which is approved via conditional use.

According to recent studies, the current median income in New Orleans is $36,999, while the Median Home Value sits at $227,800. In 2018 50 percent of all households were cost-burdened, paying more than 30 percent of their gross income on housing. The severity of the situation has worsened as New Orleans neighborhoods continue to grow and gentrify, and the areas around job centers grow more expensive to live.

CPC Executive Director Bob Rivers presented to the Council explaining the necessity of the proposed text amendments to provide an opportunity to secure long-term affordable housing units for residents facing displacement. According to HousingNOLA Executive Director Andreanecia Morris, who helped craft the Smart Housing Mix, New Orleans is in need of approximately 33,000 affordable housing opportunities to stabilize the market and address the current affordable housing crisis. 

The final changes represent several years of hard work and collaboration between the Council, the CPC, the Administration, affordable housing advocates, local and national partners, and New Orleans residents.

Council Celebrates Successful Saints Season and Directs NFL to Review Officiating Department

As today's fourth special order of business, the Council welcomed New Orleans native and well-known rapper Darwin "Choppa" Turner who presented the remix to his hit single 'Choppa Style,' which was released earlier this month in honor of Drew Brees' birthday.

The Council also adopted a corresponding resolution filed by Councilmember Helena Moreno earlier this week calling upon the NFL to initiate a thorough review of officiating rules, use of replay technology, and evaluation of how they assess conflicts of interest within the Officiating Department. Following Sunday's NFC Championship game when the Saints season was effectively ended by an inexplicably "missed" pass interference call, there has been a widespread public outcry and protest both here in New Orleans and nationwide.

Earlier this week, Governor John Bel Edwards wrote a letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell on behalf of Saints fans everywhere expressing his "deep disappointment" in the referees' failure to call a blatantly obvious penalty against the Rams. The Council's resolution echoes the Governor's sentiment and demands action to ensure that no other team or fanbase has to suffer the real, long-term consequences of this type of mistake by the NFL in the future.

"What occurred during Sunday's game has been referred to by Saints fans and sports analysts alike as one of worst calls in NFL history within the last 50 years," said Councilmember Moreno. "While it's true that we have much more important and pressing issues to address, we simply cannot turn a blind eye to this injustice because New Orleans is hurting, not just emotionally, but financially as a result. Our team lost, our fans lost, but so did our city and local businesses. According to GNO, Inc., a Saints Superbowl would have generated $11 million in sales taxes to the City's General Fund. We stand with Saints Owner Gale Benson and Governor Edwards in demanding the NFL address the glaring conflicts of interest and faulty rules and regulations brought to light this past Sunday."

Members of the Council with New Orleans rapper Darwin Turner a.k.a. Choppa

Resolution to Legalize Sports Betting Passes

The Council adopted a resolution pledging to work in partnership with the State Legislature in formulating a regime for the legalization and regulation of sports betting in Louisiana and to utilize the anticipated additional tax revenue to support early childhood education initiatives. The resolution also supports the creation of a local option to establish, assess, and collect additional local fees or taxes.

The approved 2019 City Budget doubled funding for early childhood development to an unprecedented $1.5 million, up from the 2018 allocation of $750,000. However, the Council recognizes that there's still much more work to be done, and feels this new revenue source would directly benefit thousands of local children.

"We have a huge opportunity to capture a portion of this extremely lucrative business to bolster the various childhood education initiatives we're trying to implement for the first time in history here in New Orleans," said Councilmember Williams. "Investments in early childhood programs have been proven time and time again to save millions of dollars in public safety costs down the line. This resolution is another important step toward righting the wrongs of our past and investing in our city's young people when they need it most."

Council Approves Creation of New Infrastructure Maintenance Fund

The Council passed an ordinance to create a special Infrastructure Maintenance Fund for the City of New Orleans to support various infrastructure projects such as catch basin cleaning, equipment upgrades, street repairs, transportation projects, professional development opportunities, and more. The ordinance includes a provision requiring the Director of Finance to give an annual report detailing the revenues and expenditures of the fund to the City's Chief Administrative Officer and the Council.

The Infrastructure Maintenance Fund, which will draw revenue generated through existing or newly-created taxes and fees, will help address major issues throughout the city and greatly improve quality of life for New Orleans residents.

Photo of a clogged catch basin and unfilled pothole in New Orleans via

New IZD Proposed to Address Development Regulations in Algiers

The Council passed a motion in support of a new Algiers Riverfront IZD to address concerns that the current regulations, which allow the development of buildings in excess of 85' in some areas, do not reflect the community's vision for development on the riverfront. If approved by the Council through an ordinance at a later date, the IZD would prohibit the development of tall buildings while the residents of the community, the Council, and the CPC work collaboratively to find more suitable regulations.

Created on: 10/16/2018 9:10:46 AM | Last updated: 5/14/2019 9:18:42 AM


View the live stream
Opens in a popup window

Back to top