City Council Regular Meeting
March 28, 2019 10:00 AM
City Council Chamber
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NEW ORLEANS - At today's regular meeting, the City Council passed an ordinance to increase penalties for operating vehicles and parking within designated bicycle lanes, approved affordable housing initiatives, established a new Interim Zoning District (IZD) in the Lower Ninth Ward, approved an ordinance transferring certain functions of ethics enforcement to the Office of Inspector General, and confirmed several Mayoral appointments and reappointments to the S&WB and the New Orleans Aviation Board.
Additionally, the Council heard presentations from representatives of French Quarter Festival on this year's upcoming event and Project Butterly on their work to empower young girls and help them become leaders in their communities. The Council also recognized the Lady Raiders basketball team for winning their league's tournament this year.
The Council with the Lady Raiders (left) and Project Butterfly presenting during today's meeting (right)
Penalties Increased for Bicycle Safety Violations
The Council passed an ordinance amending the City Code to increase penalties for operating vehicles and parking within designated bicycle lanes. Under Ordinance 32,596, the new fine for parking in a bicycle lane will start at $300 and will increase to $500 after 30 days.
The ordinance represents the Council's ongoing commitment to the enhancement of bicycle safety following the tragic deaths of two young cyclists during Mardi Gras this year. Through these fines and other heightened enforcement efforts, the Council hopes to make New Orleans a safer place for pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists alike.
Council Approves Affordable Housing Initiatives
The Council passed an ordinance and corresponding motion to increase affordable housing throughout the City of New Orleans. Ordinance 32,573 amends the Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance (CZO) to establish a mandatory inclusionary zoning overlay district, mandatory inclusionary base zoning districts, a mandatory inclusionary zoning planned development classification, and applicable definitions to apply citywide.
The standards require the construction of affordable housing units as a portion of new, adaptive reuse, and adaptive reuse expansion development. The ordinance outlines various categories of development where the minimum number of affordable units needed will be calculated by multiplying the total number of proposed units by 12 percent. This measure will support a full range of housing choices for New Orleans households of all incomes in addition to promoting the public health, safety and welfare throughout the city.
In addition, Motion M-19-115 directs the City Planning Commission (CPC) to conduct a public hearing to consider amending the CZO to reflect certain recommendations from the HR&A New Orleans Housing Study relative to density bonuses, parking reduction and payments in lieu of compliance.
Ethics Enforcement Transferred to Office of Inspector General
The Council passed an ordinance to transfer the prosecutorial function of city ethics enforcement from the Ethics Review Board to the Office of Inspector General. Ordinance 32,594 authorizes and encourages the Office of Inspector General to work cooperatively alongside the Ethics Review Board in carrying out functions and duties such as audits, investigations, inspections and performance reviews.
Upon request of the of the Ethics Review Board, the Office of Inspector General may now conduct preliminary inquiries or investigations on its behalf. The Office of Inspector General may also file and present formal charges to the Ethics Review Board for adjudication whenever there is probable cause of a violation.
Council Confirms Mayoral Appointments
The Council voted to approve the following Mayoral appointments and reappointments to the Sewerage and Water Board (S&WB) and New Orleans Aviation Board:
- Robin Barnes as member of the S&WB (M-19-103)
- Glen Pilie as member of the S&WB (M-19-104)
- Alejandra Guzman as member of the S&WB (M-19-105)
- Maurice G. Sholas as member of the S&WB (M-19-106)
- Janet Howard as member of the S&WB (M-19-108)
Michael Bagneris as member of the Aviation Board (M-19-107)
New IZD Established for Lower Ninth Ward Community
The Council approved the creation of a new IZD named the Lower Ninth Ward Housing Development IZD to establish standards for the redevelopment of non-conforming lots in the area. The new IZD outlined in Zoning Docket No. 9/19 applies to the areas currently zoned S-RS Suburban Single-Family Residential District and S-RD Suburban Two-Family Residential District, bounded by N. Claiborne Avenue, the Industrial Canal, Florida Avenue, and Delery Street. The CPC recommended approval of the text changes citing their consistency with the recently adopted modifications to the Future Land Use Map with regard to the properties within the boundaries of the IZD.
Aerial view of a Lower Ninth Ward neighborhood via The Washington Post
The Lower Ninth Ward Housing Development IZD attempts to reconcile an error made with the adoption of the new CZO in 2015, when these areas were assigned to the "Suburban Neighborhoods" place category despite having a historic development pattern more consistent with the "Historic Urban Neighborhoods" place category. These new standards will directly benefit the Lower Ninth Ward community, which has has experienced a slower recovery than other neighborhoods, by making it easier for residents and developers to rebuild homes on existing lots in the neighborhood.