VCPORA https://vcpora.org Vieux Carre New Orleans Mon, 14 Sep 2020 20:24:24 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.4.2 VCPORA’s Quarterly Lunch & Learn https://vcpora.org/lunch-learn/ Fri, 11 Sep 2020 18:00:12 +0000 https://vcpora.org/?p=21851

Buy your tickets now and join VCPORA and Windsor Court Hotel on Thursday, October 8 at 11:45 a.m. at Windsor Court Hotel for the first installment of our Quarterly Lunch and Learn series, where Ann Masson will present Preservation and Tourism in the Vieux Carre: How it All Began. Seating is very limited due to social distancing requirements. Attendees will be seated 4 to a table at 6-foot rounds. Seating is very limited due to social distancing requirements. Menu to be announced. Lunch tickets for VCPORA members are $40 or $45 with wine. Lunch tickets for non-members are $50 or $55 with wine.  All who recognize the unique significance of the French Quarter are invited to learn about historic building practices, significant events, and challenges specific to this unique historic neighborhood.

A century ago, the old neighborhood was in shambles. Buildings were failing, residents had moved away, and the area was declared “completely gone.” The preservation movement was born of a desperation that brought together artists, writers, businesses, and “women of vision” in public and political campaigns to rejuvenate the Vieux Carre. Seeing the potential of visitors interested in history and the picturesque atmosphere, the burgeoning tourism community joined forces with preservationists. For decades, it was a good partnership. But things have changed, and now we wonder if tourism has become more devil than saint.

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Willie’s Chicken Shack Civil District Court Appeal https://vcpora.org/willies-lawsuit/ Sat, 01 Aug 2020 16:42:46 +0000 https://vcpora.org/?p=21800

 

If you are having trouble donating, please refresh the page or call our office at (504) 581-7200 to process payment. Thank you for your support!

In July 2020, multiple Willie’s Chicken Shack locations flagrantly flaunted local regulation meant to curb the spread of COVID-19. This behavior demonstrated a clear interest in short-term profits over public health. We commend Mayor Cantrell for taking swift and prompt action against the chain by revoking their license to operate for the “remainder of the pandemic” – but the truth is that this is not the first time Willie’s has skirted City regulations.

Another Willie’s Chicken Shack opened at 601 Chartres late last fall. It was the 5th of its kind in the French Quarter and the 8th in downtown New Orleans. This location obtained designation as a “Standard Restaurant” by the Department of Safety and Permits, despite the fact that it met many of the defining characteristics of a “Fast Food Restaurant,” which are not permitted in the Vieux Carré per the Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance (CZO). We note that the CZO was crafted from thousands of hours of community engagement.

It was clear that this fast-food chain was exploiting imprecise language in the CZO to operate where they should not. It was further clear that this business would continue to replicate the same store ad nauseum in a neighborhood otherwise valued for its diversity of commercial offerings and experiences. Seeking to protect the Quarter’s authenticity and uphold the City’s land use regulations, VCPORA filed an appeal with the Board of Zoning Adjustments (BZA) challenging the categorical designation made by Safety and Permits.

We received over 150 letters of support and boasted nearly one dozen in-person speakers. Several BZA commissioners even admitted that Willie’s probably met the defining criteria for a fast food restaurant. Despite the overwhelming evidence, we lost the appeal on the basis of murky CZO language. Now, we are challenging that decision with Civil District Court. We believe our argument still stands: Willie’s Chicken Shack is a fast food chain. It does not belong in the Vieux Carré. Its proliferation threatens the neighborhood’s unique character and encourages regulation-bending.

If you want to help stop the spread of fast food chains, donate to our appeal today. This appeal comes at an especially vulnerable time. Local businesses are going under. With the capital to survive the economic downturn, chains are poised to expand into newly vacant buildings. We could see the Quarter succumb to a wave of commercial homogenization.

If we do not take a stand and demand appropriate application of the zoning code now, we could see many other similar businesses exploiting the loopholes that made this possible.  One by one, location by location, the charm and unique character of the French Quarter will erode. Locals deserve to enjoy the heart of our city.

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“Reimagining the French Quarter” – An Analysis of Outdoor Seating & Pedestrianization Proposals https://vcpora.org/pedestrianization/ Sat, 01 Aug 2020 16:08:35 +0000 https://vcpora.org/?p=21785 In June, the Advocate reported on the pedestrianization concepts being developed by the City. This week, the City’s “Reimagining the French Quarter” press release provided links to the conceptual presentation, website, and recent survey results.

News of these proposals ignited widespread concern in the French Quarter. Residents and business owners expressed alarm that they had not been consulted on major changes that would directly affect their day-to-day quality of life. The absolute next step is for the City to engage with all stakeholders of this remarkable neighborhood. Councilmember Kristin Palmer is planning to host a public meeting in the next two weeks to discuss these pedestrianization proposals with residents. We will provide the details on that meeting as we receive it.

VCPORA has had the opportunity to review these ideas and provide feedback to the City’s Tiger Team. We have provided much of that analysis below. Our lens has been one of intent and impact. No other city has such a rich a blend of architecture, commerce, private homes, and vibrant street life densely packed into a neighborhood of less than one square mile. Few cities, arguably none, host 20 million visitors in an area that is home to an estimated 3,200 residents. In our review of these concepts, we have continuously asked 1) what is the real problem? 2) who does the real problem affect? and 3) who are these solutions designed for?

As previously stated, VCPORA will not endorse any effort that contributes to the commercialization of the neighborhood by prioritizing visitors over residents. We will not support any concept that prohibits or limits a resident’s access to their own home. We can, however, support concepts that will help maintain the diversity and authenticity of this remarkable neighborhood by providing tools for local businesses. We support efforts to reduce the impact of vehicles in the French Quarter and the associated issues of congestion, damage to historic buildings, pedestrian safety, and air quality. We support improvements to our aging infrastructure so that Vieux Carré remains an enjoyable place to live, work, and visit.

We remain committed to working with you, our members, and the City to explore creative improvements to the French Quarter that will prioritize and enhance the livability and enjoyment of this neighborhood by all. Reactions to specific proposals are as follows:

General Comments

Define and implement a stakeholder engagement process. Public input must be gathered before, during, and after any pilot programs to address concerns as they arise, and to assess the effectiveness.

Prioritizing sidewalk and street repairs first is key. Rather than simply patching and replacing where needed, the city has the opportunity to increase the neighborhood’s sustainability through improved stormwater management to reduce future vulnerability to climate change and safeguard this important investment.

Parts of this plan appear to prioritize a commercialized visitor’s experience and has limited consideration of residential, worker, and disabled peoples’ modality.

Any implementation must take into consideration maintaining safe, social distancing practices for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Public street furniture, landscaping, and parklets must follow rigorous design guidelines; not just for aesthetic considerations, which are important, but with durability, ease of maintenance, and public safety in mind. Liability and responsibility for street-scaping elements must not place undue burden on struggling businesses or adjacent residents.

We want to explore concepts that reduce vehicular traffic in the French Quarter, not hyper-focus it on a few limited streets that would only serve to increase congestion and push more vehicles into the adjacent residential neighborhoods of the Marigny and Treme. A comprehensive approach will involve improved and efficient public transit as well as creative parking solutions that reduce the need for cars to enter the neighborhood.

Prior to the temporary or permanent closure of any streets, a traffic study must assess impacts of traffic on all streets of the French Quarter and surrounding areas (Marigny, Treme, CBD).

Concept 1: Slow Quarter “Slow Car”

  • Reduced speeds of 15 mph for interior roads & 20 mph for perimeter roads
  • Gateway pavement treatments at entrance points to include reduced speed signage, pavement markings or elevated pedestrian crossings, bollards or planters to narrow entrance points
  • Alternating curbside parking block by block to calm traffic
  • Reversing travel direction mid-Quarter for 1 block of Dauphine and Burgundy with bike contraflow with reference to local traffic only

Analysis: The Tiger team indicated that the reversal of travel direction on Burgundy and Dauphine is intended to reduce the amount of traffic using these streets as cut-through streets. We noted that these are the typically the least congested streets and are used by residents to traverse the French Quarter as the surrounding ones are often obstructed by pedestrian malls, frequent construction, and a collapsed hotel. How would “local traffic only” be regulated? Further, the introduction of a bike contraflow may introduce confusion over cyclists being legally allowed to ride against traffic (under normal circumstances, cyclists are required to ride with traffic). Reduced speeds could be effective, particularly on N. Rampart St., if they are enforced. Gateway treatments are appropriate, particularly to eliminate oversized vehicles from entering, and special consideration must be given to the design, durability, maintenance, and replacement costs of any bollards and planters.

 

 

Concept 2: Safer Rampart Street Concept

  • Determine where traffic signals are needed to reduce speed, provide for left turning vehicles, and create pedestrian crossings
  • Incorporate high visibility crosswalks, protected bike lane, and safety bollards at various intersections
  • Pedestrian generators – safe connections to Carondelet St. streetcar stop, Basin Str. RTA hub (planned) and Armstrong Park

Analysis: VCPORA has been actively working on improving safety conditions on N. Rampart St. The introduction of a high visibility crosswalks, protected bike lanes, and safety bollards at various intersections would vastly improve pedestrian and cyclist safety on an important thoroughfare connecting the French Quarter to the rest of the City. The intersection of St. Ann merits prioritization as it is the nexus of two bus stops, a streetcar stop, an Evacuspot, and the main entrance to Armstrong Park.

 

Concept 3: Civic Spine with Pedestrian Mall Expansion

  • Creating a pedestrian “Spine” connecting Jackson Square to Armstrong Park; Orleans Ave suggested, but option exists for St. Ann or St. Peter
  • Allowing limited local car traffic on Orleans, Royal, Dauphine, and Burgundy, but no upriver/downriver crossing (900 block of Orleans, between Burgundy & Dauphine depicted as completely vehicle free)
  • Removal of off-street parking along spine and along each crossing half block (Burgundy& Dauphine, St. Ann to St. Peter)
  • Integration of pedestrian features

Analysis: This concept is inappropriate and will receive significant opposition from stakeholders, particularly from residents. The success of pedestrian malls around the country and internationally relies on having amenities that attract foot traffic, particularly storefronts of shops and eateries. Orleans Ave. is residentially zoned for three blocks, with only one business on each end, from N. Rampart to Bourbon St.

Current rules of existing pedestrian malls are not enforced, leading to a competition of sound between venues and street performers, drawing large crowds, and resulting public safety concerns. Thought the Health Department is currently working on an enforceable sound ordinance, the current provisions in City Code cannot be effectively regulated. Our open container culture means trash, and a lot of it. The streets and storm drains are literally clogged with disposable and novelty go-cups contributing to street flooding, rodents, and other sanitation hazards. Directing Bourbon Street activity into adjacent residential areas without any plan to mitigate these factors is a recipe for disruption.

Prohibiting curbside parking removes approximately 55 residential parking spaces, and restricting vehicular access permanently negates many active driveways, which represent a significant investment for their owners, likely leading to legal challenges. Vehicular access to homes cannot be eliminated; the indicated spine comprises over 140 address points. Though residents do not expect to park in front of their homes, for parking is already scarce, access is necessary to accommodate those who are mobility challenged, for unloading heavy items and deliveries, and for the continual maintenance of centuries old buildings.

Creating a pedestrian mall here, or St. Ann or St. Peter, simply does not make sense and raises the question of who this is designed for. It places a visitor’s experience over residential accessibility and quality of life. This concept virtually severs the French Quarter into two halves, despite it being a unified, 300-year-old neighborhood. Disrupting the traffic grid will simply concentrate congestion on both sides and surrounding neighborhoods.

 

Concept 4: French Market Pedestrian Concept 

  • Close French Market Place to vehicles to allow vendors to spread out at 6’ distancing
  • Provide more café seating and public seating
  • Barracks St. to be prioritized as loading zone
  • Ursuline and Gov. Nicholls from N. Peters to Decatur (small, half blocks) closed to traffic

Analysis: This is a good use of underutilized space that promotes additional opportunities for local vendors and adjacent businesses. Well designed and maintained street-scaping elements, including stormwater management features, would improve overall aesthetic quality and enjoyment. We would consider relocating loading zone into a portion of the French Market Place right of way to avoid Barracks Street congestion.

 

Concept 5: Frenchmen Street Pedestrian Mall Concept

  • Pedestrian mall from 7pm – 4am
  • Performer unloading zones provided at crossing corners
  • Addition of parklets, subject of design and permitting requirements
  • Limiting trash pick-up windows and introducing street sweeping parking free zones

Analysis: Limited feedback was given aside from asking Tiger team to engage with Frenchman Street property owners, adjacent residents, and Faubourg Marigny Improvement Association.

 

Concept 6: Upriver/River “Safe and Social” Concept

  • Vehicular traffic closed in upriver quadrant at 5:00pm on Iberville and Conti (from Dauphine to Decatur) and Bourbon, Royal, and Chartres (from Canal to St. Louis)
  • Bienville “could” remain open for emergency access
  • Inclusion of pedestrian streetscapes in entire area including parklets, street furniture, etc.

Analysis: The 5:00 p.m. closure is too early as thousands of office employees leave the area at this time and the closure of egress streets will contribute to significant congestion. These street closures restrict or eliminate access to 18 parking garages, 10 hotel entrances, various loading zones, a police station, and dozens of restaurants. The parking garages represent millions of dollars of revenue (therefore taxes) and are used by service industry employees, residents, cultural industry workers, and visitors. The removal of hotel passenger zones would force visitors to walk blocks with heavy luggage, compromising their personal safety and overall experience. Street barricades require constant maintenance and operation, challenging our already overburdened public safety manpower. Emergency vehicles could lose precious seconds in responding to disasters as streets were cleared of furniture to allow them to pass. These closures can have the effect of rerouting and concentrating congestion into other areas of the French Quarter, compounding issues of vehicular traffic rather than eliminating them. Given these limitations, implementing parklets into curbside parking would likely eliminate or reduce many of these adverse impacts while providing more opportunities for additional outdoor dining and beautification projects.

 

Concert 7: Decatur/N. Peters Concept:

  • Temporary and permanent expansion of sidewalks for outdoor cafes and shaded seating areas
  • High visibility crosswalk and pedestrian islands
  • Decatur upriver lane, from Dumaine to Wilkinson, closed to personal vehicles but open for bikes, buses, mules and emergency vehicles

Notes: In General, Decatur street offers many opportunities, given its width and prominence. A concentration of eateries and attractions could provide numerous areas for extended curbside dining. A two-way protected bike lane is ideal and should be considered for the entire length of Decatur in the French Quarter, as frequent design changes will be confusing for both people biking and people driving. Refuge islands for people walking and signalized midblock crosswalks will increase visibility of all users. The closure of upriver lanes will funnel all vehicles down Dumaine, creating more congestion within a predominantly residential section. Enforcement of bus idling in front of Jackson Square is vitally important. Along the middle Decatur, the loading zones for Jackson Square facing businesses must be considered.

 

 

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Support the Vieux Carré this GiveNOLA Day! https://vcpora.org/givenola/ Wed, 20 May 2020 14:50:39 +0000 http://vcpora.org/?p=19586

 

Tuesday, June 2nd is Give NOLA Day, hosted by the Greater New Orleans Foundation. This one-day online giving event inspires people to give to the non-profit of their choice – and we hope VCPORA is yours! With nearly all of VCPORA’s events cancelled for 2020, we need your help now more than ever to fund the preservation and protection of the Vieux Carré as an international historic treasure, a major cultural and economic asset, and a living residential neighborhood that is valued and respected by all.

Schedule your gift today: givenola.org/vcpora

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COVID-19 Resources https://vcpora.org/covid-19-resources/ Tue, 17 Mar 2020 18:30:58 +0000 https://vcpora.org/?p=21507 VCPORA is closely monitoring the ongoing public health crisis associated with the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, as labeled by the World Health Organization. We remain in communication with the Mayor’s office, the Department of Health, and Councilmember Kristin Palmer’s office in efforts to share any and all relevant information with the French Quarter community. We can all play an important role in preventing the spread of COVID-19 to protect the most vulnerable groups, particularly the elderly and the chronically ill.

Stay connected and informed with facts:

Please stay informed by visiting NOLA Ready and receive updates by texting “COVIDNOLA” to 888-777.

In efforts to protect our community and reduce exposure:

  •         Wash hands frequently for 20 seconds with soap and water
  •         Cover your cough and sneezes with your elbow
  •         Try to avoid touching your face
  •         Routinely clean and disinfect shared surfaces
  •         Avoid close contact with others
  •         Stay at home if you feel sick

Make the best use of limited health care resources and reserve emergency services for those who truly need them. The major symptoms include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Though these symptoms are frequent this time of year, due to allergens and common colds, it important that if you feel ill, you do not immediately go to the emergency room. Instead, call your health care provider or contact the Louisiana 211 Network by dialing 211 for more information on testing sites in partnership with the Louisiana Department of Health.

 

Be a good neighbor and a responsible citizen:

It is always a good idea to have additional food, medicine, and toiletries on hand so consider stocking up on essential needs to avoid additional or unnecessary trips to the store. Check-in with your neighbors, particularly if they are mobility impaired or cannot easily access additional provisions.

Beyond the potential health impacts of COVID-19, many senior centers may lose access to meal providers and school closures will leave at-risk children without important meals. Additionally, those who work in the service industry and other hourly jobs stand to lose significant income. You can help by volunteering your time and making donations:

Links to Assistance for Residents:

While it is imperative that you safely practicing social distancing, remember there are still ways to stay connected with your community.

 

VCPORA:

All VCPORA events are temporarily suspended but may be postponed to later dates. We are available if you need access to resources. Stay safe, and stay tuned to our social media for future updates. 

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5G Wireless Cell Phone Towers in the French Quarter https://vcpora.org/5g-cell-towers/ Wed, 11 Dec 2019 20:44:52 +0000 https://vcpora.org/?p=21486 Fifth Generation, or “5G,” cellular service is the newest advancement in cellular technology. It requires new transmission towers “small cells” that differ from the large-scale macro towers and the 74 existing fifteen foot 4G towers in the Vieux Carré.

The four major mobile carriers, AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile, currently roll in additional temporary cell towers into the French Quarter during heavy attendance events like French Quarter Fest, and Mardi Gras to keep up with wireless demand. Carriers point to the need for these permanent 5G towers to replace the mobile units and ensure quality service year round. Notably, 5G waves do not penetrate walls, and will not service residents or businesses that operate indoors. This technology is designed for open air wireless usage only.

The carriers have proposed installing new 35 to 40 foot 5G cell towers within the French Quarter boundaries. AT&T and Verizon have submitted applications to the City, while T-Mobile and Sprint (merged) have discussed plans for applying. For full coverage in the French Quarter that could mean 200 towers, or a pole at nearly every intersection as they need to be located within 300 feet of each other in an unobstructed line of sight to be effective. 5G poles can incorporate 4G antennas, but they also will include two cabinets measuring 5 feet tall and 2 feet wide and deep to house the updated equipment. Alternatives resembling historic lamp posts are being explored by the City.

In September 2018 “the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) restricted cities’ ability to regulate 5G infrastructure. Under the new rules, local governments face tight deadlines to approve or reject the installation of this new cellular equipment. The rules also put limits on how much money cities can charge wireless firms for the privilege of putting hardware in public rights of way.”

“The new FCC rules set a clock of 60 to 90 days for local officials to approve or reject installation requests from wireless carriers…The FCC also put limits on how much city officials can charge to deploy 5G cells, ordering that all fees must be based on costs. Companies like AT&T have complained that certain cities have assessed annual fees of up to $8,000 per 5G attachment.”

Additionally, the FCC had issued an order in March 2018 eliminating environmental and historic preservation review of the 5G cell towers. On August 9, 2019, the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled on an appeal brought by the Natural Resources Defense Council, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and several Native American Tribes that the FCC had failed to adequately address possible harms of its deregulation efforts and the benefits of environmental and historic preservation review. This ruling implies that the FCC does not have the authority to dismiss the requirements of the National Historic Preservation Act or the National Environmental Protection Act. A challenge by dozens of cities and counties to a Federal Communications Commission is in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and is still pending.

We, along with several other French Quarter groups, are organizing a public meeting in the next couple of weeks for the City to present more information about the proposed 5G small cell towers. Please watch your inbox for details on that gathering.

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History in a Glass: A Cocktail Lecture for the Holidays https://vcpora.org/history-in-a-glass/ Sat, 07 Dec 2019 15:00:10 +0000 https://vcpora.org/?p=21469

History in a Glass: A Cocktail Lecture for the Holidays

presented by Elizabeth Pearce

Tuesday | December 17, 2019
6 pm presentation | 7pm reception
Beauregard-Keyes House | 1113 Chartres

 Seating is limited
RSVP with lily@bkhouse.org

Note: Tickets are $10/person and include the lecture & cocktail reception. Members of BK House and VCPORA get in free with a suggested donation of $5, but please reserve your seat/s in advance by emailing lily@bkhouse.org.

Much can be gleaned about the city of New Orleans from the roots and evolution of its cocktail culture over the past 160 years. Join author and historian Elizabeth Pearce for a look into the history of alcoholic beverages in the crescent city and how early recipes like the Sazerac at the Roosevelt Hotel and Cafe Brulot at Christmas (or anytime) helped shape the development of how and what people drink today, both in New Orleans, and well beyond.

Guests will be treated to a light reception following the lecture featuring tastes of quintessential local cocktail recipes including the Sazerac and Cafe Brulot. The latter will be prepared with a demonstration by Christoph Dornemann of Arnaud’s Restaurant’s James Beard Award winning French 75 bar.

 

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At Home in the Vieux Carré: December 6, 2019 https://vcpora.org/at-home-in-the-vieux-carre-december-6-2019/ Tue, 26 Nov 2019 23:51:58 +0000 https://vcpora.org/?p=21438

1026 Esplanade
Friday, December 6, 2019
5:30pm – 7:00pm
Hosted by Rene Fransen & Eddie Bonin

Save the date! The final 2019 At Home in the Vieux Carré is on Friday, December 6. Longtime residents Rene Fransen and Eddie Bonin will be closing out the season with their beautiful Queen Anne home. Specialty cocktails, wine, and nibbles will be provided. This happy hour is not to be missed! Admission is $5 for members, $10 for non-members, and free to those who renew their memberships that night.

 

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Support our appeal against Fast Food Restaurants in the French Quarter! https://vcpora.org/call-to-action-support-our-appeal-against-fast-food-restaurants-in-the-french-quarter/ Fri, 01 Nov 2019 19:35:50 +0000 https://vcpora.org/?p=21419 Banner

VCPORA has filed a formal appeal with the Board of Zoning Adjustments (BZA) challenging the determination made by Safety and Permits that the newly opened Willie’s Chicken Shack at 601 Chartres Street is allowed per the Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance (CZO).

This location (now the 5th of its kind in the French Quarter and the 8th in downtown New Orleans), was permitted as a “Standard Restaurant,” despite the fact that it meets many of the defining characteristics of a “Fast Food Restaurant,” which are not permitted in the Vieux Carré.

Your help is needed! Write to the BZA and attend the meeting on Monday, February 10 at 10:00 a.m.!

The CZO defines a “Fast Food Restaurant” as:

An establishment, which may be part of a chain of fast food outlets, that is oriented around the quick-service of meals for on-premise or off-premise consumption. Typically, a fast-food restaurant’s design or principal method of operation includes three (3) or more of the following characteristics:

    1) a permanent menu board is provided from which to select and order food;
    2) standardized floor plans, architecture and/or sign design are used over
several locations;

    3) customers pay for food before consuming it;
    4) a self-service condiment bar is provided;
    5) trash receptacles are provided for self-service bussing;
    6) furnishing plan indicates hard-finished, stationary seating arrangements;
    7) drive-through service is offered;
    8) most main course food items are prepackaged rather than made to order.

Fast food restaurants may not offer alcoholic beverages for sale. Table service by restaurant employees is not provided.

Given that every location of Willie’s Chicken Shack provides a permanent menu board for ordering (1), and which orders are placed and paid for prior to consumption (3), within a business interior, including signage and signature drink, that has been standardized and branded across all locations (2), this business clearly meets the first three characteristics of a “Fast Food Restaurant.”

The remaining criteria, such as the placement of trash receptacles (temporary) and the location of condiment bars (theirs are in individual table caddies) can be easily manipulated as needed.

 

Can they operate as a Bar that sells Food?

No. This property falls in the VCC-2 (Vieux Carré Commercial) zoning district which does not allow Bars as permitted uses.  Standard Restaurants are allowed, and can sell alcohol by right. Notably, Willie’s Chicken Shack markets its signature frozen cocktail and a wall of daiquiri machines at all of its locations.

Why this is a Problem?

Fast Food restaurants are not a permitted use anywhere in the Vieux Carré. The City and its residents spent thousands of hours crafting the CZO to determine what communities’ prioritized in their neighborhoods. The product of this collaboration yielded a desire to prohibit fast food restaurants and limit formula retail businesses in order to protect the authenticity, integrity, and desirability of the French Quarter.

Most business owners strive to offer an original experience that cannot be appreciated anywhere else, thus contributing to the health and vibrancy of the entire region. The Vieux Carré is known, and protected by State Constitution, for the distinctive quality of its architecture, culture, and community. The CZO is the means by which an influx of similarly styled commercial offerings can be prevented to avoid the homogenization of this National Historic Landmark. For this reason, VCPORA will continue to defend the authority of the CZO to evenly apply regulations for all business and property owners.

 

What Can You Do?

WRITE to the Board of Zoning Adjustments and ATTEND the meeting to express your concerns about the dangerous precedent being set by this business model and the flagrant violations of the CZO.
Monday, February 10, 2020, 10:00 a.m.
City Council Chambers, City Hall
1300 Perdido St, 1st Floor

Sample language:

To: cityplanningcommissionno@gmail.com, erhernandez@nola.gov

Subject: Support for BZA Docket 104-19

Dear Board of Zoning Adjustment members,

I am writing in support of BZA Docket Number 104-19 asserting that the business located at 601 Chartres Street is illegally operating as a “Fast Food Restaurant.”
The newest Willie’s Chicken Shack, like each of its 7 other locations, clearly meets many of the characteristics defining “Fast Food Restaurants,” including but not limited to, a permanent menu board, ordering and paying prior to consumption, and a stylized interior and signage replicated across locations.

The historic Vieux Carré is internationally known for its unique culture and architecture, particularly its diversity of commercial offerings and experiences. It must remain a place where residents, locals, and visitors alike can enjoy its authenticity and integrity.

Please protect this authenticity by upholding the Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance and its authority to evenly apply land use regulations to all business and property owners. Willie’s Chicken Shack meets the definition of a Fast Food Restaurant and allowing it, and similarly styled businesses, to proliferate where they are prohibited by law, endangers the viability and desirability of the entire community.

Sincerely,

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Revisions to the Alcohol Beverage Outlet Ordinance Pass https://vcpora.org/abo-ordinance/ Tue, 08 Oct 2019 19:24:38 +0000 https://vcpora.org/?p=21379

 

After four hours of public comment, and 11 months of detailed revisions, the New Orleans City Council passed an ABO Ordinance overhauling decades-old provisions in the City Code on regulations of Alcohol Beverage Outlet permits.

We spoke in support of this ordinance and feel it was a good compromise between a diverse group of stakeholders including residents, bar and restaurant owners, and service industry representatives.

The existing city code, with sections dating back over 50 years, will now be updated to include, among many other items:

  • Alignment with existing state laws for legal operation. This clarifies that if the State revokes an ABO permit, the City must also revoke its permit.
  • A removal of antiquated and discriminatory language, and certain barriers to employment regarding prior misdemeanor convictions.
  • The creation of an appeals process for applicants denied a new or renewal ABO permit.
  • A requirement that the applicant have no outstanding sales or property taxes owed at the ABO location, but does authorize the ABO Board to waive this requirement if “the lessee is acting in good faith and a waiver will avoid undue hardship to the lessee.”
  • The creation of a new section providing that the Department of Safety & Permits, NOPD and the Department of Finance determine ABO eligibility.
  • Allowing bars to have sidewalk seating on the public right of way. Previously, all outside seating for bars was prohibited, though many do exist. This allowance requires that bar owners apply for permits for the privilege in the same way that restaurants with café seating are required.

A final, and hotly debated, amendment grants temporary suspension authority to the ABO Board in the event of an emergency situation that poses a “direct and immediate danger” to the public. This outlines that the ABO Board may not assume this authority until after a public rules promulgation process, a hearing and another vote of the Council. This process must define the circumstances when an emergency suspension is permitted, establish notice requirements and confirms that an emergency suspension cannot be issued until a pre-suspension hearing is provided.

We thank all the Councilmembers, particularly Councilmembers Kristin Gisleson Palmer and Cyndi Nguyen, along with their staff for their dedication to this effort. We will also be following the rules promulgation progression with the ABO Board and will keep you updated. More information about the hearing can be found here and here.

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