If the idea of the Draft Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance (CZO) makes you yawn, maybe this will make you wake up: This is a once-in-a-generation change to the “DNA” of New Orleans. The decisions soon to be voted on in this document by the City Council will affect YOUR neighborhood for years to come!
On September 9, the City Planning Commission voted to send a 684-page, redlined version of the Draft Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance (CZO) to the City Council.
This version contained many important differences from the previous version seen by citizens – many changes seem at the special requests of developers. Yes indeed, it has good things in it – but it also actually loosens important protections for neighborhoods.
In fact, according to the draft CZO the following will now be possible: 1. Height restrictions for all historic areas can be overridden with “bonuses”, thus completely changing the character of New Orleans, especially at the riverfront;
2. Neighborhood restaurants throughout the city would be allowed to expand their hours to serve alcohol into the wee hours and provide live entertainment, thus becoming night clubs without any citizen or neighborhood consent;
3. Any restaurant, even in quiet neighborhoods or even McDonald’s, could now be a live music venue;
4. Armstrong Park could be developed as an amusement park;
5. Hotels would again be allowed to proliferate throughout the landmark French Quarter, reducing further the area’s status as a real residential neighborhood;
6. Important criteria for bars and amusement venues have been reduced or eliminated;
7. An important Vieux Carré Commission protection has been eliminated - known as “8.1.”
The full CZO text can be found here: http://www.nola.gov/city-planning/draft-comprehensive-zoning-ordinances-%28czo%29/full-czo-text/ . Commentary by Attorney Keith Hardie, BGR, VCPORA & Lisa Suarez can be found at: www.kreweoftruth.com.
The City Council is allowing online comment NOW: http://www.nolacitycouncil.com/resources/resources_czo.asp .
The City Council will have only ONE HEARING on this matter on Tuesday, Sept. 30! Monitor the Council’s website for the time or call the Council Chief of Staff Office at 504.658.1082