February 21, 2019 10:00 AM
City Council Chamber
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NEW ORLEANS - At today's regular City Council meeting, the Council adopted a resolution relative to Entergy and the New Orleans Power Station (NOPS), heard a special Mardi Gras presentation from the Krewe of Zulu, passed a resolution calling for a public park on Esplanade Avenue, approved an ordinance directing the City Planning Commission (CPC) to study building heights and density requirements in the Bywater, and voted to establish an interagency parks and recreation coordinating council.
Additionally, the Council recognized Regional Transit Authority (RTA) Commissioner Earline Roth for 23 dedicated years of service on the board and heard a presentation from Sharp New Orleans, a newly-formed nonprofit organization launching this month to offer professional attire and resources for men trying to overcome workforce barriers to employment.
Members of the Council with RTA Commissioner Earline Roth, colleagues and friends (left) and Founder of Sharp New Orleans Patrick Young (right) during today's regular meeting
Council Calls for Public Park on Esplanade Avenue
The Council adopted a resolution calling for a public park located in the Historic Faubourg Tremé neighborhood at 1141 Esplanade Avenue. Resolution R-19-79 requests that future developers prioritize affordable housing and include an adequate public park at the location. The resolution acknowledges the neighborhood's rich history, traditions and contributions to the city's cultural landscape. In an effort to ensure that culture is maintained, and avoid the displacement of local residents, it is imperative to prioritize affordable housing, nearby parks and adequate public transportation.
In 2011, the Historic Faubourg Tremé neighborhood proposed a public park on the City-owned lot, which has remained vacant for nearly 40 years. The lot remains vacant today, and the nearest public parks with playground equipment are between one-half and one mile away. The new park would provide much-needed green and play space for residents of the neighborhood, contributing to health and stormwater management, in addition to attracting tourists looking to explore just outside the French Quarter.
The resolution also states that in order to be eligible for City funding, all proposals for development at 1141 Esplanade Avenue must include 100 percent affordable housing units and that the neighboring community will be involved in the applicant selection process. This will serve to address the city's long-term affordable housing crisis in a way that supports the economic, cultural, health and environmental needs of the neighborhood.
"We have a real opportunity for affordable housing here, and we can no longer afford to just take the easy way out by ignoring vacant lots that have been set aside for this purpose," said District "C" Councilmember Kristin Palmer. "This resolution is truly a win-win, and if implemented, it would yield twice the number of affordable units originally envisioned for the site while creating a long-overdue public park for the neighborhood."
Entergy Sanctions Receive Council Approval
The Council adopted a resolution (R-19-78) imposing sanctions, cost protections and other safety modifications for Entergy New Orleans (ENO) relative to the NOPS, which rendered moot and withdrew all previously filed resolutions on the matter. The resolution culminated ongoing efforts by the Council to assess and respond to the misconduct that occurred and was brought to light during the public comment and approval process for the NOPS last year.
To read the resolution in its entirety, click here.
CPC to Study Affordable Housing Requirements for Bywater
The Council approved a motion (M-19-73) directing the CPC to study amendments to the City's Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance (CZO) that would require developments along the riverfront in the Bywater Sub-District to include at least 10 percent of affordable housing units in order to qualify for additional density and height limits up to a maximum of six stories or 75 ft.
Of the affordable units, which would be reserved for households with incomes equal to or below 80 percent of the area median income, at least half must contain two or more bedrooms. Additionally, the motion would require affordable units to be housed within the same structure as the market-rate dwelling units in the development, and should not be concentrated or limited to any one particular area.
The Bywater Sub-District includes properties along the riverfront between the Mississippi River and Chartres or Decatur streets in the Marigny and Bywater communities. Developments closest to the street would still be limited to avoid having large buildings looming over nearby properties.
Measure Approved to Establish Interagency Parks and Recreation Coordinating Council
The Council approved an ordinance authorizing the Mayor to enter into a Cooperative Endeavor Agreement (CEA) among the City, the New Orleans Recreation Development Commission (NORDC), the Audubon Commission, and the City Park Improvement Association for the establishment of an interagency parks and recreation coordinating council. If the voters authorize the realignment of the parks millages in May, this new council would serve a valuable public purpose through the coordination of park and recreation resources, maintenance, and activities throughout New Orleans.