MAJOR Changes Proposed for Master Plan
Special City Council Meeting:
Monday, July 10 at 10 a.m. in City Council Chambers
First, the good news: the process to make changes in the city’s Master Plan is in the home stretch. Now, the bad news: mixed in with some good changes are proposals that could harm our neighborhoods, communities, and unique way of life.
On Monday, July 10 at 10 a.m. the City Council will convene a special meeting (called the Committee of the Whole) to take public comments on these proposed amendments. On July 27, the Council will be voting on amendments that are unopposed. Any amendments that are opposed will be sent back to the City Planning Commission for review and further study, then they’ll go back to the City Council for a final vote. The timeline for those amendments that do elicit opposition has not yet been made public.
These amendments, if approved, will be permanent changes to the Master Plan, the document that we New Orleanians voted to enshrine in the city charter as a means of depoliticizing the land use process in New Orleans. We all need to keep an eye on these amendments, and fully understand what they’d mean for our neighborhoods and our city.
We’ve reviewed all of the proposed amendments, and below are our picks for those that could, or would, be the most problematic.
This issue has been challenging for citizens to follow because of the volume of changes and the complexity. The amendments below pertain to the French Quarter because they are citywide or specific to this neighborhood. We’ve done our best to boil it down and make it understandable, but also remember that there are significant changes that will affect many other parts of the city. If you agree with our analysis, please take a moment to send an email (sample language and email addresses provided below), and please try to attend the meeting on Monday!
Most problematic Master Plan Amendments (explanations can be found below):
- Removal of the term tout ensemble, which we fought to keep in the CZO
- Rezoning of neighborhoods to allow ill-defined “culture-serving businesses and facilities”
- Elimination of time limits on legal non-conforming uses
- Vast expansion of the authority of the CPC Executive Director
- Shrinking of the Force of Law provision to one chapter, rather than the entire Master Plan, as outlined in the charter language
- Dilution of the Historic Preservation Plan
If you’d like to send an email, you can cut and paste the text below, and send it to the following addresses:
Subject: Master Plan Amendments
Dear Councilmembers and City Planning Staff and Commission:
I am writing to submit my comments on the proposed Master Plan Amendments and respectfully request your help with the following items:
Please retain the term tout ensemble in the text regarding Mixed Use-Historic Core. Tout ensemble, part of the landmark City of New Orleans versus Pergament case decided by the Louisiana Supreme Court, is now a recognized legal term that has been crucial to the protection of the Vieux Carré’s architectural integrity.
Provide a clear definition for the term “culture-serving businesses and facilities” in the proposed amendment to Chapter 14’s Residential Historic Core category. The language is too vague and the potential impact impossible to determine without such a definition.
Do not remove time limits for legal non-conforming uses in Chapter 6 as this has the potential to bring commercial uses to unintended areas.
Keep the mandatory review process and schedule for CPC map amendments and Future Land Use Map changes. Removing this process would violate the city charter (section 5-404.4).
Keep “Force of Law” in place for the entire Master Plan document, not just for Chapter 14. All areas of the Master Plan need the protections and certainty provided by having the Force of Law. Also, the promise of the Master Plan charter change and the text of the charter change itself were key reasons that citizens voted for the Master Plan.
Chapter 6: Keep the Historic Preservation chapter focused on Historic Preservation. Develop a Historic Preservation Plan to protect the historic architecture, historic districts, and the scale and character of historic neighborhoods for the City of New Orleans.
For further information:
– If you’d like to review the Master Plan Amendments working document,
– Finally, here is official information from the City Planning Commission on the Master Plan Amendment Process:
It has recently been confirmed that the City Council will hold a special public hearing to receive comments from all speakers on proposed Master Plan amendments. The hearing will take place onMonday, July 10, at 10am, in the Council Chambers, 1300 Perdido Street, New Orleans. The hearing is only to receive public comments – the Council will not be voting on the amendments until July 27. On July 27, there will likely be a much more limited time frame for public comments.
The Council has prepared two ordinances for consideration, both of which are currently written to accept the City Planning Commission’s recommendations. Calendar Ordinance 31,918 is for amendments to the Future Land Use Map. Calendar Ordinance 31,917 if for amendments to the text of the Master Plan.
Please note that if you want to speak on the map amendments, you should review the attachment to the ordinance and refer to it by the number in the attachment. If you want to speak about text amendments, note that the attachment for the ordinance includes a redline version of the Master Plan’s chapters. If you want to speak about the text amendments to these chapters, you should reference the chapter and page number.
If an amendment request was recommended for denial by the CPC, it should not appear as part of either ordinance’s attachment. If speaking on an amendment recommended for denial, you can reference your original amendment number assigned by the CPC.