October 03, 2019 10:00 AM
City Council Chamber
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NEW ORLEANS - At today's regular meeting, the City Council authorized changes to the City's laws regarding Alcoholic Beverage Outlets (ABOs), approved recommendations listed in the Small Box Retail Diversity Study, waived permit fees to repair flood-damaged buildings following the July 10 rain event, passed an ordinance to mitigate safety risks associated with improperly secured pools, approved District "E" Cox Grant recipients, and celebrated Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Council Passes New Regulations and Requirements for ABOs
The Council passed Ordinance No. 32,693, updating the City's existing Alcoholic Beverage Outlets (ABOs) permitting and enforcement laws. The revisions represent months of hard work and collaboration amongst the Council, local businesses, bars and members of the community. The approved ordinance amends the ABO laws to ensure they align with existing state laws for legal operation.
The measure removes antiquated and discriminatory language, among other items, and accomplishes the following:
- Creates an appeals process for applicants denied a new or renewal ABO permit;
- Allows for a temporary suspension of an ABO permit, which will require a public rules promulgation process, a hearing and another vote of the Council to take effect; and
- Allows bars to have sidewalk seating on the public right of way.
"I would like to thank all of the stakeholders and fellow Councilmembers who worked on these provisions over the past 11 months," said District "C" Councilmember Kristin Palmer. "With their input, I believe we crafted a reasonable, common-sense piece of legislation that clearly outlines how businesses that sell a controlled substance can operate responsibly."
City Authorized to Address Unsecured Pools
The Council passed an ordinance authorizing City officials to take action regarding improperly secured pools. Ordinance 32,773 permits authorized City entities to enter any property and immediately fill-in any pool that fails to comply with fencing OR filtration requirements, which pose a health risk to the surrounding neighborhood. The Council took a positive first step towards rectifying this issue in October 2018 when it passed legislation declaring abandoned pools public health emergencies.
The ordinance approved today represents ongoing efforts from the Council and District "A" Councilmember Joe Giarrusso to address the significant number of blighted pools throughout New Orleans and streamline laws that prevented City officials from remedying those on neglected private property.
Photo of a blighted pool on residential property via Fox 8 New Orleans
Council Approves Small Box Retail Study Recommendations
The Council voted to amend the City's Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance (CZO) to incorporate recommendations and initiatives contained in the 2018 Small Box Retail Diversity Study. Zoning Docket 78/19 updates applicable definitions and citywide use standards for Small Box Variety Stores to include area restrictions and spacing requirements between such stores, as well as trash, litter cleanup, and storage requirements. It also updates the maximum total floor area for qualifying grocery stores in food desert areas and strengthens site design standards to promote neighborhood compatibility.
To view the final report on the Small Box Retail Diversity Study, click here.
Permit Fees Waived to Repair Buildings with Flood Damage
The Council approved an ordinance to waive certain fees for building permits necessary to perform non-structural repairs of buildings damaged by the flooding that occurred throughout the city on July 10. According to the National Weather Service, New Orleans experienced more than 7 inches of rainfall over the span of six hours that Wednesday morning. The flash floods came as a surprise to many around the city who were making preparations for potential Tropical Storm Barry to make landfall later that week, leaving many commuters stranded in flooded underpasses and residents trapped in their homes until the waters subsided.
This ordinance will help ease the financial burden of these repairs for local residents and property owners. It will remain in effect through Dec. 31, 2019, unless the Director of Safety and Permits determines the fee waiver should still apply due to verified hardship.
Photo of a car surrounded by floodwater on Canal Street during the July 10 storm via NOLA.com
Annual Celebration of Breast Cancer Awareness Month
The Council held a special order of business in celebration of Breast Cancer Awareness Month featuring a presentation and panel discussion with local healthcare experts, advocates, and survivors including: Dr. Jennifer Avengo, New Orleans Health Department; Dr. Denise Roubion-Johnson, Louisiana Breast & Cervical Health Program; Dr. Dwight McKenna, City of New Orleans Coroner; Senator Diana F. Bajoie; Lisa W. Plunkett, Susan G. Komen New Orleans Affiliate; Donyel Bocage, Scott Eli Jackson Foundation; Lisa McKenzie, You Night; 7th District NOPD Detective Shondell Fields; and Retired NOPD Police Sergeant and breast cancer survivor Becky Benelli. Following the presentation, each Councilmember presented a proclamation to a breast cancer honoree of their choosing to recognize them for courage and advocacy in fighting the disease, which affects one in eight women in the United States. To kick-off the first order of business, the Council received a special performance from the Black Feather Mardi Gras Indians.
Members of the Black Feather Mardi Gras Indians performing during today's meeting
Additionally, the Council provided free mammogram screenings for pre-registered City employees in Duncan Plaza across from City Hall throughout the day. With approximately 683 City employees having been affected by breast cancer, the Council was proud to welcome today's presenters and honorees as part of continued efforts to raise awareness and ensure early detection.
The Council with breast cancer experts, advocates, and survivors during today's meeting