VCPORA Comments Regarding Draft CZO

Below is the cover letter that VCPORA submitted as part of its comments regarding the draft CZO. The full text of those comments (18 pages worth, referenced to specific sections of the 684-page original document) can be found after the jump.

Dear City Planning Commission Staff and Members:

On behalf of the Vieux Carre Property Owners, Residents and Associates, I submit the attached comments regarding the draft Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance.

Since fall of last year, we have reviewed two drafts of the CZO. We have a deep appreciation for all the work you have done, and of the input and effort of the thousands of citizens whose participation played a huge part in the development of this document.

VCPORA has been advocating for the protection and preservation of the Vieux Carre forover 75 years, and we appreciate the opportunity to weigh in on this vital guide to development in the city.

We know that you are aware of the profound importance of the French Quarter, not just architecturally and historically, but economically. It is the iconic neighborhood of our city, and one whose unique character and tout ensemble have been enshrined by the Louisiana Supreme Court and our state’s constitution.

As you will see in our detailed notes below, we have numerous questions and comments about the draft CZO. We trust that all will be read, but wanted to list some of the most important issues here:

1. Section 8.1. has been removed from this draft CZO. That language (copy below), whose authority was upheld by the Louisiana Supreme Court and the United States Supreme Court, is critical to the future viability of the Vieux Carre and must be returned to the CZO.

Section 8.1. Procedures In Vieux Carré Historic Districts.

No occupancy permit shall be issued by the Director of Safety and Permits, for any change in the use of any existing building until and unless a special permit shall have been issued by the Vieux Carré Commission, except that where no change of exterior appearance is contemplated such permit by the Vieux Carré Commission shall not be required. Where any change in exterior appearance is contemplated, the Vieux Carré Commission shall hold a hearing, and if it approves such change, it shall issue a special permit to continue the same use, or for any other use not otherwise prohibited in this district, subject to the following conditions and safeguards:

1. The historic character of the Vieux Carré shall not be injuriously affected.

2. Signs which are garish or otherwise out of keeping with the character of the Vieux Carré shall not be permitted.

3. Building designs shall be in harmony with the traditional architectural character of the Vieux Carré.

4. The value of the Vieux Carré as a place of unique interest and character shall not be impaired.

2. Security and Operations Plan, Noise Abatement Plan, and several other plans are listed as being required for submission with applications. However, in most cases there are no standards for what must be included, no designated person to review, and no requirement that the plan be approved (rather than merely reviewed). We ask that you add this language in all relevant portions.

3. There is in this draft a provision for new hotels to be allowed in the VCS districts. We feel strongly that new hotels are not needed in the French Quarter, and urge you to remove this provision.

4. Adult uses are allowed in this draft in the VCE-1 District, which is the 200 and 300 blocks of Decatur. We do not believe that allowing additional areas for adult uses is in the best interests of the French Quarter, or for the residents and businesses that are located in and around this district.

5. We ask that many decisions now made administratively be noticed publicly and timely. Specifically, we ask that notice (including email notification) be given to all registered parties, and posted to a dedicated page on the city’s website of all zoning text and/or map interpretation requests, applications, and appeals.

6. To clarify the distinction between primary legal non-conforming uses and casual and intermittent (and generally unpermitted) secondary uses, we ask that you retain and clearly define the 5 hour a day/4 day a week requirement for the establishment of a legal non-conforming use, so that casual and intermittent secondary uses cannot be counted toward the creation of a legal non-conforming use.

7. To enchance the public’s ability to participate in public hearings, we ask that the CZO include language that requires staff reports to be issued at least 5 business days in advance of the relevant CPC meeting, and 2 days prior to the deadline for written public comment.

Our detailed review is below. We have coded it to the format used in the draft in the hopes that this will make it easy to follow.

It should be noted that we have worked closely with French Quarter Citizens on these comments, and we make a joint request for a meeting with CPC staff before this document is voted on by the CPC.

Again, thank you for all your work, and we look forward to further discussion about the CZO.

Regards,

Meg Lousteau

VCPORA


DRAFT CZO COMMENTS

September 2, 2014

ARTICLE 1. Title, Purpose, Intent and Application

1.5 A. non-conforming uses are not currently permitted to expand, enlarge or intensify, yet the draft CZO permits this. The restrictions against expanding, enlarging and/or intensifying should remain in place.

1.5 B Existing Uses – Expand to note that increases and intensity of non-conforming uses are prohibited.

1.5 F Previously Issued Building Permits – ADD: If a previously issued permit is formally challenged or appealed, a stop-work order shall be issued, until and unless the original permit is upheld. If not upheld, new permitting must be applied for, addressing any deficiencies or criteria failures. If upheld, the rationale must be listed and posted, citing relevant code.

1.6 Enforcement – ADD: Any applications, determinations, deficiencies, etc. should be posted within one week to a dedicated page on the city’s website at www.nola.gov. Also, all registered parties should be notified via email/.

ARTICLE 2. Ordinance Administrators

General Application: Recommendation: All decisions shall site the rational for the decision, any corresponding applicable code & be posted to a dedicated www.nola.gov link within 5 working days.*

2.6 B – Question: What is minor map adjustment? Recommendation: This seems open to interpretation, more explicit language needed in text &/or a definition for same in Article 26.

2.6 C. allows BZA to make final decisions on appeals. The right of appeal of BZA decisions via Civil District Court must be included in this section.

2.8 B. minor map adjustments – Recommendation: This seems open to interpretation, more explicit language needed in text &/or a definition for same in Article 26

2.9 A-C – * Two signatures shall be required on zoning verifications and in addition to other posted information.

2.10 States that the VCC shall have no jurisdiction over use, but to conform with the existing Section 8.1 regarding change of use, the following phrase should be added: “except when reviewing changes of use” so that the standards for review by the Vieux Carre Commission currently in Section 8.1 have been removed. We urge in the strongest possible terms that these standards be put back into the draft CZO.

ARTICLE 3. ADMINISTRATIVE PROCEDURES

General Application: Recommendation: All decisions must cite the rationale for the decision, any corresponding applicable code & be posted to a dedicated page on the city’s website at www.nola.gov within 5 working days.*

3.2 B . what are the standards for a “complete” application?

3.2 C. Failure to pay required fees is grounds for refusing to process the application. At whose discretion is this decision made? Are there any additional criteria and/or justifications needed? Also, C. Required Fees – Agree with fee transparency. However, fees should be due when application is filed in person, or within 5 business days if filed online. Administrative approval to delay payment for extenuating circumstances shall not exceed 30 days. It should be noted that these fees along with the applications are to be posted to a dedicated link on the city’s website within 5 business days.

3.2 D. 1. last line reads “…the application may not be resubmitted for two (2) years from the date the applicant submits the withdrawal notice.” “May” should be changed to “SHALL.” Question: Who determines what is substantial and what does evidence mean? In the past it was plan changes. Recommendation: List criteria for substantial changes (plan changes, etc.) with definition addition to Article 26.

3.2 E. 1. Mentions the “official in charge of receiving applications” – who is designated to be the receiver?

3.3 A. For all applications, the notice should be published in the official journal AND on the city’s website.

3.3 C. Posted Notice

3.3 C.1. By Applicant – Question: Will S&P verify sign placement by applicant 15 days prior to hearing? What are the penalties applicants’ non-compliance? Recommendation: For non-compliance, defer hearing for one month, with permit being posted until the deferred hearing, along the collection of a second inspection fee.

3.3 C.1.d. How will Safety and Permits verify that the notification sign has been posted by the applicant?

3.3 2. a. By Safety & Permits – B Question: Is S&P going to post for all public meetings, including VCC, HDLC, BZA, CPC & City Council? What are the standards to determine posting? Shouldn’t these requirements be made of all other municipal land use agencies?

3.3. D. Validity of Defective Notice – This is susceptible to abuse and seems to override State law on proper notice procedure, which is not legal under the state constitution. Recommendation: Notice should be made via multiple venues…property, www.nola.gov , USPS, etc. and this provision should be in total compliance with state open meetings law.

3.3 2. b. This should not have been eliminated. City Planning should have administrative approval to require public posting or any project.

NOTICE – Recommendation: Email to all registered persons & organizations in the affected area and post on www.nola.gov , NOT JUST SNAIL MAIL

3.4 B. Include language clarifying that deferred items will be included in all notices for upcoming meetings at which they will be heard. We strongly believe that every item on an agenda, whether new or old business, should be included in the public notice for the meeting at which is to be discussed. To do otherwise does not serve the purpose of public participation and

is not transparent.

ARTICLE 4. APPLICATIONS AND APPROVALS

General Application: Recommendation: All decisions must cite the rationale for the decision, any corresponding applicable code & be posted to a dedicated page on the city’s website at www.nola.gov lwithin 5 working days.*

General – include language requiring that staff reports be issued at least 5 business days in advance of the hearing at which the relevant matter is to be heard, and at least 2 days prior to the deadline for written comment.

4.2 B.3. does “zoning amendment” include spot zones?

Table 4.1 12. Mentions “compatible with the trend of development in the area.” That language is extremely broad. Who would make the determination of these trends?

4.2 D.1.b. Procedure ADD: Amendments initiated by the City Council require a complete application, but are exempt from fees, unless the City Council is requesting on behalf of an individual or a non-profit business or corporation. Amount of fees waived was added.

4.2 D.2 An NPP should be required for any application for a text amendment or for any zoning amendment initiated by the City Council. At the very least there should be notice?

We thought the Master Plan required public notice and hearing of any text or map changes. ADD: Require sponsoring Council Member to meet with the affected community. Draft states all text and map applications must have a NPP. Presumably, applicant will meet with community, even when submitted by City Council.

4.2 D.2.c. Time frame should be changed to include minimum and maximum time frames for postal and email notice. Recent history has shown that a meeting within noticed within the 5 day deadline where the notice goes out over a holiday weekend and only by postal mail is totally insufficient.

4.2 D.2.d. i. Include contact numbers and emails of neighborhood leadership (to facilitate CPC meeting validation).

4.2 D.2.d. vi. CPC should email the applicant’s copy of the NPP report to neighborhood association or community contact for verification of information, attach confirmation to the application, and post to dedicated page on the city’s website at www.nola.gov. Also recently, a separate example from c. above, the registered neighborhood organizations were not sent notification of a pre-application meeting. If this suggested provision had been in effect then, this problem would have been caught.

4.3 E. Standards Table 4-1

6. Length of time vacant has repeatedly been used as justification for code variances. Who determines “suitable?” “Context of development” is vague and arbitrary, and leaves much room for abuse of discretion. We recommend the removal of Item 6.

11. Question: What constitutes “significant”? There must be stated criteria on which this determination is made.

12. Trends can result from lack of zoning conformity and not necessarily be positive for the community’s livability or sustainable economic development. Recommendation: REMOVE

Replace Item 12 with this: Existing properties with lacking or questionable conformity to CZO and Master Plan shall not be used as precedents or justifications to allow other similar new uses.

4.3 B 1. Council-initiated conditional use requests shall be heard in the order received by CPC, and no fees shall be waived- the property owner shall be responsible for all fees. City-owned properties shall be exempt from fees and shall be prioritized for a hearing by CPC>

4.3 D. 1.d. ADD: A conditional use application that is approved pending State or Federal Government agency requirements shall be rescinded if approval from those agencies is not received and submitted to City Planning within 60 calendar days of CPC approval. The current language allows City approval prior to receipt of required State of Federal government agency approval with no stated time-line or consequences if State or Federal compliance remains incomplete.

2. Pre-Application Meeting & Project NPP (see 4.2 above- same comments)

4.3 H. Expiration of Time – Three year time limit is too long. ADD: 1) Criteria & rationale standards for granting extensions, and make the City Council limit one year, since the Administrator and/or the Council can be petitioned for an additional extension. 2) Define what “commence development” means, does this mean application, shovel in the ground, etc.? Loose language has provided loop-holes in previous cases, making enforcement all but impossible. 3) State that fees for all applications must be paid within 5 working days of filing, whether in person or online.

4.3 F. Approval Standards Recommendations: 1) Mandate that the BZA comply with the nine criteria as listed in section 4.6.F. in order for a variance to be granted. The burden of proof shall be on the applicant. Too often variances are granted where there was no real hardship, but instead merely inconvenience or desire for increased profit. Such decisions are often to the detriment of the neighborhood which often is not privvy to project staff reports. 2) Upon granting of a variance, require that the BZA state how and why the proposed variance meets or fails to meet each of the nine criteria, and not simply to say “finding the application meets the nine criteria . . .

.

4.4 Planned Developments Question: With the extensive use of federal grants and tax credits, the Federal Section 106 applicability should be listed here and in other places in the CZO to prevent delays in rehabilitation and development.

4.4 E.2 ADD d. i. Include contact numbers and emails of neighborhood leadership (to facilitate CPC meeting validation).

4.4 E.2 ADD d d. vi. CPC shall email the applicant’s copy to neighborhood association or a community contact for verification of information, attach confirmation to the application, and CPC should post to a dedicated page on the city’s website at www.nola.gov .

4.3 I.1. how will “substantial construction” be defined? Who will make this determination?

4.3 I 2.a. The Executive Director should not have the unilateral authority to grant year-long extensions. Such extensions should be routed through the public CPC process.

4.5 C. In the Vieux Carre districts, when large developments (over 5000 sf, perhaps) are proposed that would bring in hundreds of people, there should be some required parking mitigation.

4.5 D.2. vi. Include contact numbers and emails of neighborhood leadership (to facilitate CPC meeting validation).

4.5 D.2 vii. CPC should email the applicant’s copy to neighborhood association or community contact for verification of information, attach confirmation to the application, and post to dedicated pageon www.nola.gov .

4.6 G.1. The Executive Director should not have the unilateral authority to grant year-long extensions. Such extensions should be routed through the public CPC process.

4.6 G.2. As written, the BZA could grant an extension of any length of time. Clearly, that is not advisable. There must be a limit on the extension of time that the BZA can grant. We recommend one year, with no allowance for additional extensions by the BZA, the CPC, the directors of CPC or S&P, and/or the City Council.

4.7 E.1. When making minor map adjustments, the rationale for the decision must be put in writing. Also, minor map adjustments that result in the “up” zoning of a property (from residential to commercial, from B-1A to C, for example) should not be made administratively but

should have to go through a public process, either with BZA or CPC. Also, the person

responsible for making that determination must state on the approval or denial the justification for that decision, citing applicable law. This decision must be posted on a dedicated page on the city’s website. It seems these changes will expand uses leading to a decrease in residential quality of life, alter the neighborhood character and negatively impact the tout ensemble of the VC.

4.8 B. Decisions must be posted on a dedicated page on the city’s website.

4.8 C. Deals with appeals of decisions of director of CPC and S&P, but does not include any notice provisions on those decisions. Specific notice (as opposed to incidental) must be a requirement of this provision so that citizens are aware of these decisions, and have an opportunity to appeal. In order for this time limit to be fair to citizens, decisions of the director of S&P must be made public and readily available. Such notice must be specific and timely, posted to a dedicated page on the city’s website at least once a week

4.9 B. tighter controls are needed for zoning verifications, particularly where they involve

ABOs. We suggest the public notice as per an earlier suggestion, and also that ABO

zoning verifications require two signatures (ie the director and the zoning administrator),

and that the section of the zoning code that supports the decision must be cited in the

approval documents. The decision shall state on the application the justification for the decision, the applicable law, and posted along with application information, by address on a designated page on the city’s website.

4.9 D. ADD: Whomever makes the decision shall state on the application the justification for the decision, the applicable law and posted along with application information, by address on a designated page of the city’s website

THERE NEEDS TO BE NOTICE REQUIREMENT FOR ZONING VERIFICATIONS AS WELL

4.10 D. Authority ADD: Whomever is rendering the decision shall state on the application the justification for the decision, the applicable law and posted along with application information, by address on a designated www.nola.gov site.

4.10 E. What are the public notice requirements for a zoning text interpretation? They should shall state on the application the justification for the decision, the applicable law, and posted along with application information, by address on a designated page on the city’s website.

4.10 F. What are the public notice requirements for appeals of a zoning text interpretation? They shall state on the application the justification for the decision, the applicable law, and posted along with application information, by address on a designated page on the city’s website.

ARTICLE 5. PLANNED DEVELOPMENT STANDARDS

5.6 & 5.7 REMOVE increased density bonuses in Historic Core Districts added since the November draft. The density limits in the Core neighborhoods have been developed with much public input and professional expertise, and should not be waived without going through channels that any developer would have to meet. Also, these districts are already among the densest in the city – increased density is not necessarily an enhancement. This was never a goal mentioned by citizens during the years of public input for the CZO.

ARTICLE 6 ZONING DISTRICTS AND ZONING MAP

ARTICLE 7. OPEN SPACE DISTRICTS

When we met in November, a sub-category was suggested for Armstrong Park, since it does not meet many of the criteria for a OS-R. For example, permitted uses which would be unacceptable are: an outdoor amusement facility, outdoor amphitheater, a golf course with driving range, horse stables, and a public boat pier. Unacceptable conditional uses are maritime use, RV Park, a stadium, a solar station, a wind farm, agriculture with livestock, campground, and fairgrounds. So, over 40% (14 of 34) of conditional and permitted uses in OS-R are not appropriate for Armstrong Park. This must be addressed and resolved.

ARTICLE 8 RURAL DEVELOPMENT DISTRICTS no comment

ARTICLE 9. HISTORIC CORE NEIGHBORHOODS RESIDENTIAL DISTRICTS

Table 9.1

“Community Facility” is not defined. Should this be “Community Center?”

Day Care Home, Adult or Child – Large – Make conditional use, none currently exit

Group Home, Small – Remove as a permitted use, none currently exit.

Group Home, Large – Remove as a permitted use, none currently exit.

Permanent Supportive Housing – Remove totally, none currently exit.

Residential Care Facility – Remove totally, none currently exit.

Wireless Telecommunications Antennae – ADD: Must comply with stealth standards for design.

GENERAL: We urge in the strongest possible terms that the language currently in place as Section 8.1. Procedures In Vieux Carré Historic Districts be retained:

No occupancy permit shall be issued by the Director of Safety and Permits, for any change in the use of any existing building until and unless a special permit shall have been issued by the Vieux Carré Commission, except that where no change of exterior appearance is contemplated such permit by the Vieux Carré Commission shall not be required. Where any change in exterior appearance is contemplated, the Vieux Carré Commission shall hold a hearing, and if it approves such change, it shall issue a special permit to continue the same use, or for any other use not otherwise prohibited in this district, subject to the following conditions and safeguards:

1. The historic character of the Vieux Carré shall not be injuriously affected.

2. Signs which are garish or otherwise out of keeping with the character of the Vieux Carré shall not be permitted.

3. Building designs shall be in harmony with the traditional architectural character of the Vieux Carré.

4. The value of the Vieux Carré as a place of unique interest and character shall not be

9.4 B. Clarify the definition for “minor expansion”

9.5 Design Standards for Vieux Carre’ Districts ADD: A reference to locate VCC guidelines on www.nola.gov .

9. 7 B. Temporary Uses (Pursuant to Article 21.8) – must include a clear and unequivocal standard for “temporary.”

ARTICLE 10. HISTORIC CORE NEIGHBORHOODS – NON-RESIDENTIAL DISTRICTS

10.1 F. There has been a prohibition on new hotels and expansion of hotels in the Vieux Carre for over 40 years. This provision has served the French Quarter well. There is no reason to loosen this restriction. We strongly urge that the provision allowing new hotels in the VCS-1 be eliminated from the draft CZO.

10.2 B.1.b. For hotels with more than 30 rooms, make live entertainment a conditional

rather than a permitted use.

10.2 B.2. Adult uses are already restricted to the VCE district, so why is this written separately?

10.2 B.5. This section can only apply to the property at 111 Iberville. It seems an odd and unfair practice to use the zoning code to single out one property for special treatment and development allowances not granted to anyone else. This has been added since the November draft – why? Current law prohibits new hotels in all VC zones. Allowing more legal short-term/ transient vacation rental is counter-productive to increasing District residency and shifts the pendulum farther to a non-authentic cultural experience for the current visitors. Permit new lodging in Planning District 1a and maintain new lodging prohibition in PD 1b. development

Table 10.1

Allows bars as conditional uses in VCC-2 – the limitation of new bars to the VCE has served the French Quarter well. New bars should not be permitted in commercial areas. Remove bars as conditional uses in the VCC-2 district.

Cultural Facilities should be conditional uses in VCC-2, as they are in VCC-1. There are several cultural facilities in town that are operating more as event venues, and the conditional use would allow additional restrictions to be placed on their operations.

Table 10.2 Recommendation: List maximum FAR as 3 for all VC Districts

ARTICLE 17. CENTRAL BUSINESS DISTRICT

17.2 C. What are the precise boundaries of the CBD-3 Cultural Arts District?

Table 17.1

Short-term rentals are listed as conditional uses in CBD-2 but hostels and hotels are listed as permitted uses. Why is there a discrepancy?

17.5 B. 3. Contributions to landmark preservation are a basis for increasing FAR? Who determines what merits a bonus?

ARTICLE 18. OVERLAY ZONING DISTRICTS

ARTICLE 19. TEMPORARY PROHIBITIONS

19.3 B.3.a. Does this say that an interim duration may be extended for 2 extensions of 6 months each, for a total of a year? Could these extensions be added to extensions granted by other agencies? We would recommend that they be concurrent.

ARTICLE 20 USE STANDARDS

General Application: ADD: All decisions shall cite the rationale for the decision and by whom; any corresponding applicable code(s); list the status of the project and what, if any, fees have been collected and/or remain outstanding; and be posted to a dedicated page on the city’s website within 5 working days.*

20.3.B Remove “Adult Use” as a permitted use in the VCS, VCS-1 and VCE-1 districts.

20.3 D. There should be a clear and blanket prohibition on heliports in any VC district.

20.3 E. Amusement Facility, Indoor or Outdoor Return Security & Operation Plan minimum criteria to standards for approval. Eliminating these standards provides a loophole for bad operators to exploit the system and leaves the door open to subjective administrative decision without transparency & community review. ADD litter, traffic and parking (to include employees) abatement plan to noise abatement requirement. Change noise to sound.

20.3 E.c. Shall be directed away from residential and neighboring properties.

20.3 E.4. Return language prohibiting retail sales of alcoholic beverages for consumption off-premises are prohibited.

20.3.E.1. add “litter, traffic and parking” to list of required plans that must be submitted

by an indoor or outdoor amusement facility

20.3 E.3. “Noise abatement plan” needs to be defined

20.3 E. Last line says “may” trigger a prohibition as part of Section 10-110 of the city code. Should be “SHALL.”

20.3.E.c. lighting design should be reviewed to ensure that light is contained to the

establishment’s property and not spilling over into neighboring properties. Also, lighting

standards should ensure that light is projected down, and not up, as per the tenets of

the International Dark Sky Association

http://www.darksky.org

ADD F. Security & Operation Plan shall include the minimum number of male, female and handicapped public bathroom facilities. This is a major problem with places of entertainment and bars the in VC Districts, particularly VCE and VCP for festivals.

3. ADD: Review shall include verification of the applicant information.

4. ADD: Discard all cups at the door before leaving.

5 .ADD:Suspend license for violation with appropriate reinstatement fee. (see # 7.)

6. ADD: Criteria for expanded/change in plan to include additional public bathroom facilities, enhanced security, litter abatement and parking (to include employees) and number of maximum patrons to be increased by. Application with determination shall be posted online with rational for determination, citing City code.

7. ADD: Fine operator and building owner for violation of use or failure to comply with any part of the code, in addition to license/permit suspension & reinstatement fee.

20.3 G.1. Return hours, size, outdoor seating, exterior lighting, maximum occupancy being to the requirements for a Security and Operation Plan.

20.3 G.1.a. vii. Include male, female and handicapped public restrooms.

20.3 G.1.b. What are the standards for a “noise abatement plan?”

20.3 G.1c. Include parking (including employees), traffic & litter abatement plan.

20.3. G.4. Clarify primary versus secondary uses. The BZA has made decisions recently that have confused these two definitions. We again make the request that intermittent secondary uses not be sufficient to create legal non-conforming uses, and that the specific use in question must be proven, by the applicant, to have occurred constantly for 5 hours a day, 4 days a week.

20.3 G.5. Who approves an updated Security and Operations? By what standards are such applications reviewed? List criteria for expansion and/or changes in plans.

20.3.G.1. Calls for bars to submit impact management plans, but does not mention

review and approval or denial of such plans, nor is a department or person designated

as responsible for such review/analysis/approval. Such details must be included for the

plan to have any significance.

20.3.G.1.iii Restrictions need to be added for cases in which the proposed outdoor

seating is adjacent to residential zones and uses. This provision has been removed and needs to be reinstated.

20.3.G.1.iv lighting design should be reviewed to ensure that light is contained to the

establishment’s property and not spilling over into neighboring properties. Also, lighting

standards should ensure that light is projected down, and not up, as per the tenets of

the International Dark Sky Association http://www.darksky.org

20.3.G.1.b In addition to a noise abatement plan, plans to address litter, parking and

traffic impacts should also be submitted, and a designated body should be bound to

review and approve or deny such plans. This provision has been removed and needs to be reinstated.

20.3.G.2. This requires that bars merely submit a summary of places of worship,

educational facilities and parks and playgrounds within 300’ of the proposed location. This provision has been removed and needs to be reinstated, even though it is mentioned elsewhere in the CZO.

20.3 I.2.3. Allows for “occupier occupancy” rather than “owner occupancy.” This creates a new category of Bed and Breakfasts which remove the owner-occupancy requirement and instead allow “occupier occupancy” with more than double the units (4 versus 9) allowed for Bed and Breakfast Accessory (which must be owner-occupied). Such non-owner-occupant management contradicts the spirit of the bed and breakfast concept and creates a form of hotel. We urge you to delete this category and to retain the obligation of bed and breakfasts to be owner-occupied.

H. Bed and Breakfast

ADD: The text should note there is a prohibition of any category of new Short-Term Rentals/ Transient Vacation Rentals in all VC Districts since 1970. Also, the language of the new ordinance should be cited. (See Transient Vacation Rental definition in Article 26 comments with City Council empowering legislation cited). It is worth noting that there have been some illegal short-term rentals in the French Quarter that recently secured permits from the Department of Revenue and are now on the city’s list of legal STRs. Clear language is a must on this matter.

20.3 R. Cultural Facility – Where located in any residential district, hours of operation for events at cultural facilities are limited to 8:00am to 10:00pm on Mondays through Thursdays, and 8:00am to 12:00 midnight on Saturdays and Sundays. How does this apply to museums that rent their spaces as party venues? Currently there are several cultural facilities whose operations seem to be more on the event rental side than the cultural.

20.3 II. Live entertainment/noise abatement plan – who reviews? And there is only mention of review, not approval. Approval must be required, and there must be standards by which the plan is evaluated and rated.

20.3 II.1. ADD: The secondary use shall meet the minimum operating criteria individually from the principal hours of operation.

20.3 II. 3. ADD: Litter and parking abatement plan (including employees) shall include the following:

a. For live entertainment – PUT BACK IN “ secondary use, the days and hours of operation for the establishment’s general operations as a standard restaurant or bar, and the days & hours of operation for the live entertainment component. For live performance venues, the days and hours of operation.

b. The size of the public area of the establishment and the size, location and configuration of the live entertainment space area within enclosed structure. Just listing the configuration, without any specific measurements, is not sufficient and prone to exploitation. ADD: specific measurement.

c. Exterior lighting design which shall not be directed at any residences or neighboring properties.. PUT BACK IN.

d. Maximum occupancy loads. PUT BACK IN

e. Loading areas. PUT BACK IN

f. ADD f. Number and location of public restrooms (male, female, & handicapped)

ADD: …unless authorized through the conditional use process..

5. ADD: All openings to the exterior shall be closed. Define policy where is it written, “shall” be subject to music of any kind. It shall be prohibited beyond the enclosed structure.

6. ADD: Enforcement will be enhanced by the prohibition of containers leaving any business by exiting customers.

7. ADD: Traffic, parking (including employee) plans and additional restrooms to requirements, if an increased intensity is requested. The number of residences within 300 feet shall also be on the application. Details of the application shall be verified prior to determination of issuance.

8. ADD: New plans shall be resubmitted for approval and shall include items listed

in items GG… now II.

MM. Neighborhood Commercial Establishment

4. Permitted Uses v. Personal Uses excluding any previously unpermitted erroneously permitted or illegal businesses in all VC Districts. Why are there only restrictions to Massage Parlors in VC-E & not other Districts? Also, there is no longer a definition for Massage Parlor.

vii. Retail Goods Establishments has been added as a use. Language must includeded to exclude any previously unpermitted or illegal T-Shirt Shops in all VC Districts.

NN. LL. Parking Structure or Parking Lot (Principal Use)All parking structures and parking lots are subject to the parking design standards of Article 22. In addition, parking structures and parking lots are subject to the following standards.

Parking Structure Recommendations:

c. In VCC – 2 District, parking structures are limited to those properties fronting on North Rampart Street and Iberville Street. This seems to imply that there will be no parking structures in other parts of VCC-2. What about the surface lots between the river and Decatur?

SS. Public Market (This is new since Nov 2013)

ADD: 8. A Management & Operations Plan shall be approved by Safety & Permits and any other applicable City Department for all VC Districts to include:

Noise and litter mitigation.

Restroom, security, electrical and lighting at sunset provision.

Parking impact on neighborhood. (ie: will vendors unload and remote park; are adjacent streets metered; is neighborhood primarily residential; are other businesses closed during Public Market hours, etc.

Medical & public safety emergency procedures (even if it’s to call 911)

VV. SS. Reception Facility (New since Nov 2013) Per Table 10-1 Reception Facilities is a not permitted or conditional use in any VCC District and should not be added for all VC Districts.

1. Security & Operation Plan

g. Number and & location of male, female and handicapped restrooms.

f. Abatement plans to be submitted shall include litter, traffic and parking (including employees). ADD: Medical & public safety emergency procedures.

4. Include number of residences in 300 foot perimeter.

20.3 YY.1. Security and Operation plan must be reviewed by Director of Safety and Permits, but there is no mention of needing approval of the director, or the standards for review and approval. Such language is necessary in order for the plans to have any meaning.

20.3 YY.2. Same as above

20.3 YY. 11. Are holding bars permitted only in standard restaurants in all zoning districts? Or is there a separate rule for VCC districts?

Restaurant (All Types)

1. Security & Operation Plan

e. Exterior lighting should not be directed at residences or any adjacent property.

g. Number and & location of male, female and handicapped restrooms.

f. Abatement plans to be submitted shall include litter, traffic, and parking (including employees). ADD: Medical & public safety emergency procedures.

4. Include number of residences in 300 foot perimeter.

5. Customers shall discard containers upon exiting the enclosed structure of the business to the public right of way.

20.3 BBB.2. Are there requirements for membership in social clubs? Can the clubs decide that anyone on the premises is a member? This language needs to be tightened so that the definition cannot be exploited by those looking to use it to circumvent the normal zoning and use standards for opening ABOs.

20.3 DDD.2. Please add that new t-shirt shops are prohibited in all Vieux Carre districts

20.3.E.7 (we are proposing this as an additional item in 20.3.E): Any building operator,

along with the building owner, who fails to comply with the provisions of 20.3.E. shall be

fined and subject to suspension or revocation of the occupational license and ABO

license if applicable.

20.3.F.2 “Public gathering space” does not specify indoor or outdoor, which would affect

the impact on neighboring properties.

III EEE. Wireless Telecommunications Antenna, Facility, and Tower

REINSTATE c. through f. below as they provide transparency & protection.

c. A full disclosure of what is proposed, demonstrating the need for the wireless telecommunications antenna, facility, or tower to be located where proposed.

d. The reason or purpose for the placement, construction, or modification, with specific reference to the provider’s coverage, capacity, and/or quality needs, goals, and objectives.

e. The service area of the proposed wireless telecommunications antenna, facility, or tower.

f. An EME/RF Study which documents both the individual carrier’s contribution of radiofrequencies (RF) to the environment, and the cumulative effects of all RF sources at the site. The study shall document where the “maximum permissible exposure” (MPE) is exceeded.

9. f. ii. States that all C-2 Districts may have towers. Please state that VCC-2 is exempt from this, especially since 9. B. states they may exceed 65 feet, but list any existing towers within any VCC-2 as grandfathered.

ARTICLE 21 ON-SITE DEVELOPMENT STANARDS

21.3.B Glare & Heat was removed. REINSTATE

21.3.B (old C.) Vibration – ADD to “Vibrations from vehicles that leave the site, such as trucks, trains, airplanes, and helicopters, are exempt from this regulation”, as long as vehicles are not kept at idle and leave immediately following start-up and turn off the engine immediately upon arrival.

21.3.F. F. Electromagnetic Interference was removed. – REINSTATE

21.3.G Odors was removed. REINSTATE

21.4 B. 2. All Activities Within an Enclosed Structure Bars were added since Nov 2013. Change “may” to “shall” in last sentence. This adds to litter, noise and diminishes quality of life.

21.8 B.4. Please state clearly that mobile food trucks are prohibited in the Vieux Carre, as defined by the area bounded by Esplanade, N. Rampart, Canal and the Mississippi River.

21.8 C. 8 Outdoor Market Add: Noise mitigation (Volume regulators, speaker placement, etc); male, female and handicapped restroom facilities; traffic and parking mitigation; medical & public safety plan.

Temporary Outdoor Market changed to 21.6 Public Market

21.8. C. 9 Temporary Contractor Trailers, Construction Refuse Containers, and Real Estate Model Units

a. Temporary Contractor trailers are not allowed on any VCC public rights of way, only on the property foot print.

b. Refuse Containers are allowed for a maximum of 90 days with a appropriate fees.

c. Model units outside of permanent structures are not allowed within the VC.

Page 6

21.8 C. 12b. Temporary Storage – ADD: Not allowed on any public right of way in VCC.

21.8 C. 13 Temporary Telecommunications on Wheels (COW) for a. & b. REINSTATE 21 day maximum which was changed to 90 days since the Nov 2013 CZO draft review. None of the festivals last more than 14 days, so having a 21 day limit allows for set-up and removal. As noted in 21.C.10 Temporary Parking Lots, the lots are allowed to operate 2 days before through 2 days following the event. Why not use the same language here for consistency? 90 days use will present a hardship for diminishing parking, and create an eyesore to the tout ensemble of the area parked in and possible excess noise. These COW’s usually take up 2 – 3 parking spaced and have a height of 60 ft when extended, so in the VCC, that’s 10 feet over the maximum building height in the VCC.

ARTICLE 22 OFF-STREET PARKING AND LOADING

Table 22-2

No parking required in historic core districts, except HM-MU AND HMC-2. There have been proposed developments that are much larger in scale than the average Vieux Carre establishments, and we believe some consideration should be given to requiring parking mitigation for such establishments.

General Comments:

revisions to the Residential Parking Program in the Vieux Carre are needed. The

RPP either needs to be in effect 24 hours a day, or at least the 2 hour limit needs to be

in force from the end of the workday until the next morning, so that residents returning

home from work have parking availability.

the size of service vehicles, including delivery vehicles and garbage trucks, must be

scaled down. The length and weight of these vehicles is causing daily damage to the

buildings and infrastructure in the French Quarter.

all vehicles over 31’ – including but not limited to buses, limousines, 18-wheelers,

recreational vehicles – must be prohibited in the French Quarter. Improved signage at

all entry points to the French Quarter is needed, as are stepped up enforcement

efforts.

General Comments for Inclusion: (From 19 months of FQMD, FQ Vision Task Force presentations & meetings)

1) On-street VC District parking should not be allowed for visitors unless a residential visitor pass is used for their guests or workmen. The wholesale parking by business employees should be prohibited, in addition to business customers.

2) Parking Meters adjacent to business should have a maximum of 30 minutes to prevent long-term parking by meters. No new meters should be added to the Historic Core Districts.

3) Service and delivery vehicles should be scaled down by decreasing GVW’s and size to maximize on- street parking and to minimize vibration damage to infrastructure and buildings. Follow the European model for historic centers.

4) Prohibit all buses and RV’s in all Historic Core Districts.

5) Do NOT make new residential projects of more than 4units, or commercial projects serving more than 20 patrons at a time exempt from off-street parking requirements for all areas of Historic Core Districts. Adjust Table 22.2 to reflect this. If a new residential or commercial property development foot-print has no parking space, than a fee in lieu of parking should be levied annually with the property taxes.

6) Restrict routine/repeat business deliveries to occur 2-6pm in all Historic Core Districts. Best time balanced for residents and businesses?

7) Residential Parking Permits (It is understood that currently the City Charter in Section 4-901 (4) authorizes the Department of Public Works to “prescribe regulations governing traffic and parking on streets and other public places”. However, it is felt parking should not be a totally administrative decision and recommend the following:

a) Should be governed by CZO and not as an administrative function. Historic Core District permits should be restricted to majority time residential vehicle owners; defined as residents that vote in the District and whose cars are registered in the District.

b) Any resident of the Historic Core District may submit for removal any unused/obsolete freight zone within that District.

c) All residents with proper parking decal shall be allowed on-street parallel parking in the driveway of their residence in all Historic Core Districts when located on the right (parking) side of the street.

8) For all VC Districts add parking requirements for any new residential use over 3 units and new restaurants or bars with occupancy of over 75.

22.8 B.2.b. Parking is prohibited on the public right-of-way or between the street line and the nearest point of the front façade of any building or within five (5) feet of the front property line when located on a corner lot for non-residential uses in all Historic Core Districts, non-residential uses in all Historic Urban Neighborhood Districts, the MU-1, MU-2, and the C-1 Districts. A driveway leading to a required off-street parking space may be located in a required yard area. Anyway to support enforcement with language here?

22.8 B.2. c. Parking Covenant or Agreement…Agree with all the language except the last sentence which leaves a new covenant open to a S&P administrative decision with no criteria listed. Any new covenant should be applied for before a board of review in all Historic Core Districts.

22.11 B. Curb Cuts No more curb cuts on Iberville from Decatur to Dauphine. CHANGE from Dauphine to North Rampart for consistency.

22.13 Off-Street Parking Exemptions Are there no exemptions now? We do agree that on-street parking should not count towards parking space requirements.

ARTICLE 23 LANDSCAPE, STORMWATER MANAGEMENT, AND SCREENING

ARTICLE 24 SIGNS

General Comments: 1) RETAIN all VCC regulations for signage in all VC Districts. 2) Prohibit any billboards in all Historic Core Districts. 3) Take immediate action to remove billboards that are in violation of existing and draft prohibitions on billboards that advertise uses or operations not occurring on the property where the billboard is located.

24.12 E. Requires that an annual report be submitted by the owners of all billboards in NOLA. Is this current law? Have such reports ever been submitted?

ARTICLE 25 NONCONFORMITIES

25.2.D. Add “clear and convincing” before the words “legality of a nonconformity.”

25.3.B. A notice provision must be added here, and should be the same standards as

are notified for a BZA appeal, as well as notice to registered neighborhood associations.

Determinations of nonconforming use would have to be signed off by the Director of the

Department of Safety and Permits and the Zoning Administrator; would have to include

a written explanation and citation of the section of the code that supports the decision;

and the document would have to be posted on a dedicated page on the city’s website at

least once a week.

25.3 C. Language must be added that clarifies that the operation of a main legal non-conforming use, such as a restaurant operating in a residential zone, cannot have casual, intermittent or temporary use – such as live entertainment, cannot be established by casual or intermittent use. The specific use, not just the underlying use, must be in operation for 5 days a week, 4 hours a day for a period of at least 6 months, and the burden of proof to demonstrate this falls solely on the applicant. Suggested language: Change the last line from “the use of land or structure shall be open for business (4) hours a day, five (5) days a week” to “

the non-conforming use itself, not merely the primary business at the location, shall be open for business (4) hours a day, five (5) days a week and its usage must be obvious and continuous.

25.3 E.1.c.iv. Who determines what is a “needed service?”

ARTICLE 26 DEFINITIONS

Bed and Breakfast – remove B. Bed and Breakfast, Principal

This creates a new category of Bed and Breakfasts which remove the owner-occupancy requirement and instead allow “occupier occupancy” with more than double the units (4 versus 9) allowed for Bed and Breakfast Accessory (which must be owner-occupied). Such non-owner-

occupant management contradicts the spirit of the bed and breakfast concept and creates a form of hotel. We urge you to delete this category and to retain the obligation of bed and breakfasts to be owner-occupied

Billboards – add that billboards are prohibited outright in the Vieux Carre – the area

known bounded by the downriver side of Canal Street, the riverside of N. Rampart

Street, Esplanade Avenue (including properties fronting both sides of Esplanade

Avenue), and the Mississippi River.

Community Center – this definition is not mentioned in Article 20 Use Standards. It needs to be added, so that there are clear rules and policies on selling/distributing food and alcohol, hours of operation, parking, etc.

Cultural Facility – definition is extremely broad, and would allow a variety and intensity of activities that could be disruptive to surrounding uses, especially residential uses. Some limits need to be included so that the definition is not exploited.

Hospitality Center – this definition is not mentioned in Article 20 Use Standards. It needs to be added, so that there are clear rules and policies on selling/distributing food and alcohol, hours of operation, parking, etc.

Live Entertainment – Secondary Use C. “Periodic entertainment” – the term “periodic” is broad enough to encompass annual as well as weekly performances. Actual limits need to be included in this definition.

Non-conforming Use – delete “prior to the enactment of the current ordinance” and

replace with “prior to the enactment of the more restrictive ordinance.”

Noise Abatement Plan – all of the elements listed here could be part of an effective NAP, but since NAPs are required in other sections of the zoning code, some standards need to be in place for evaluating and approving them.

Open Space – “seating areas” is not defined here or elsewhere in the code. A clarification needs to be included so that areas for seating for commercial operations, i.e. restaurant seating, cannot be counted toward required open space.

Restaurant, Carry-Out – this is a new category in the zoning code, and one that should not be permitted in any Vieux Carre district.

Security and Operations Plan – are these SOPs binding? If so, what is the mechanism for dealing with breaches of the plan? Which department is responsible and what is the process for enforcement?

Short-Term Rentals – Short Term Rental was changed to Transient Vacation Rental – The definition approved by the Council on July 10, 2014 defines “transient vacation rental” as: Rentals of a premises or any portion thereof for dwelling, lodging or sleeping purposes with duration of occupancy of less than sixty (60) consecutive days in the Vieux Carré and less than thirty (30) consecutive days outside the Vieux Carré. Hotels, motels, bed and breakfasts, and other land uses explicitly defined and regulated in the CZO separately from transient vacation rentals are not considered to be transient vacation rentals. To be in sync with the ordinance, the CZO should adopt this language, or include all aspects of the Council’s ordinance. Currently the CZO draft language does not note the 60 minimum for VC District rentals. The definitions should match, and both should include the 60 day minimum for the Vieux Carre disricts.

Social Club or Lounge – requires either nonprofit status with the state, OR registering with the State of Louisiana. The “registering” phrase should be stricken. Otherwise, anyone with an LLC can simply open a commercial venue and call it a “social club.” Also, which department is responsible for certifying what can claim to be a “social club?” What criteria are used? As with zoning verifications, the decision needs to be signed by an individual, and a written justification should be included with the decision.

Temporary Use – there needs to be a limit on “temporary duration,” ie “not to exceed X days, so that the definition is not subject to abuse of discretion.

Tout Ensemble – add this definition, as it was used in the Supreme Court case protecting the Vieux Carre and has tremendous significance.

Vacant – change the standards for determining vacancy to include required review of last date taxes were paid; last date water and/or electrical service was on at the property; and date when occupational, ABO or other city licenses expired. If the date on which any of these ceased is 6 months or more from the date of the application to resume a non-conforming use, then that application shall be denied.

APPENDIX A ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGE OUTLET AND LIVE ENTERTAINMENT REGULATIONS

General – On-Premise Consumption of Alcoholic Beverages

The impact management plans for bars and restaurants must have standards for

review, and a designated person or department to conduct such review and approve or

deny the plans. Such application and plans must be posted on a dedicated page on the

city’s website

I. Alcoholic Beverage Outlets – On-Premise Consumption of Alcoholic Beverages – mentions an “impact management plan” yet that is not defined in the code. What does that entail? By what standards is it evaluated? Who is responsible for reviewing and approving the plan? As with zoning verifications, the decision needs to be signed by an individual, and a written justification should be included with the decision.

Sec. 10-236 Restrictions as to property near schools, churches, etc.

b. Should add “business” in front of last mention of “school” – … conducted as a business college or business school within the city. Without that modifier, one could argue that all schools within the city counted toward the exemption.

Sec. 10-237 Restrictions on package liquor stores near churches, schools, etc.

c. “no lapse in the operation” – how is “lapse” determined? Who makes the determination? Using what standards? As with zoning verifications, the decision needs to be signed by an individual, and a written justification should be included with the decision.

II. LIVE ENTERTAINMENT

III. District Permissions Table

Remove Retail Sales of Package Liquor as conditional uses in the VCS and VCS-1 zones. Current zoning laws prohibit new package liquor establishments in the Vieux Carre and we urge you to maintain that prohibition.

Remove Indoor Amusement Facility from the VCS district as a permitted use.

Remove Standard Restaurant from the CBD-1 district as permitted *unless* the live entertainment exemption mentioned above is deleted from the draft/future CZO.

Remove Live Entertainment – Secondary Use from the CBD-1 district as a permitted use.

CONSISTENTCY TABLE

REMOVE VCC-R1 and VCC-R-2 from MU-HC classification. This is an accelerated to a higher use from existing code. Keep zoning as is.