City Council hears hours of public comment on proposed Master Plan revisions

City Council hears hours of public comment on proposed Master Plan revisions

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - The city of New Orleans has come a long way since it was drowned by Hurricane Katrina's flood waters, and the City Planning Commission believes it is time to revise the Master Plan, a voluminous document that has the city's goals, objectives and policies for growth and development.

Dozens of citizens stood before the City Council on Monday to voice how they think the Master Plan should be revised, including musicians and housing advocates. Others criticized recommendations they believe will water down areas of the current Master Plan.

The current Master plan was adopted in 2010.

The CPC said it received 102 proposed amendments for the text of the Master Plan and 219 related to the Future Land Use Map.

"Create some language in the Master Plan that can basically account for affordable housing and doing smaller dwelling units on certain site, type lots," said Steven Kennedy, a resident.

Others who want to use their property for various purposes have a stake in what ultimately happens to the Master Plan.

"I just want to advocate for some of these changes that help to protect our mixed use and our historic uses in the neighborhood," said Beverly House, who owns a property in a historic district.

But some citizens expressed concerns that some of the amendments will take the city down the wrong path.

"Bring in other people to tell us how to do this correctly, as opposed to continuing to mess, to not make this a good Master Plan," said one.

Some in attendance at the City Hall meeting demanded that the force of law not be diluted in the Master Plan.

What we as a city understood was that when we voted the Master Plan in that it would be a legal document because people were tired of land use decisions being politicized and of at least the appearance of certain decisions being made on who you knew rather than what was in the best interest of the city as a whole and we feel that the Master Plan and the force of law need to be very clear about what our local officials can and can't do," said Meg Lousteau, executive director of the Vieux Carre' Property Owners, Residents and Associates.

Proposals dealing with so-called culture serving businesses raised concerns among some.

"That was a proposal that would allow culture serving businesses and facilities  to be located in any of the historic core neighborhoods which include the Quarter, or Marigny, Treme and Bywater and all of those neighborhoods either have a lot of businesses or have other provisions to allow businesses that are really neighborhood-based and neighborhood level intensity to open in their neighborhood, so without a definition of what a culture serving business is I think it's asking a lot for citizens to just say okay, whatever that means open in the house right next door to me," said Lousteau.

The council is expected to vote on the amendments July 27.

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