On the evening of Wednesday, June 13, the City Planning Commission (CPC) hosted a community input meeting on its Neighborhood Participation Program (NPP) at First Grace Methodist Church. The meeting started with a presentation by CPC of its NPP. City Planning went over the types of applications that it reviews including Zoning Changes, Conditional Use Permits, Variances, Master Plan Amendments, and others. Next the Planning Commission staff discussed the comments it received at its December NPP input meeting and major themes of previous NPP efforts (including CBNO’s CPP).
Finally, City Planning staff went over the two major recommendations its Neighborhood Participation Plan. The first is improvements to public notices and information sharing which includes an increase public mailing notices (300 feet), signs posted on the property and in the neighborhood, emails to individuals and neighborhood associations, and website posting of the application materials. The second improvement would require developers to meet with area residents and neighborhood associations, get public comments, and then submit a report addressing public comments prior to submitting an application to the Planning Commission.
The Planning Commission then opened up the meeting to questions and comments. The vast majority of the comments were very positive to what CPC was doing, but most of comments were that the plan did not far enough or were concerns about how certain elements would work. About 4 or 5 people said that District Councils are missing from this plan and need to be included to shift power from the Mayor to the community, to provide equity, promote information sharing, and get neighborhoods working together (as described in the NOLA CPP Model). There was a comment or two opposing the District Council concept.
A couple of people commented that they are concerned that the developers will host the community meetings, transcribe the community input, and provide a report to City Planning without any third-party verification. Another couple of people said that the 300 foot notification radius is not enough, especially with large projects. One person said that the NPP institutionalizes a flawed process that gives too much power to neighborhoods, without any standards for outreach and inclusion (as described in the CPP). One person disagreed.
Some of the other individual comments included that the City needs to fund the implementation of the NPP, concerns that the notification improvements are too focused on technology and will miss people without internet access, and how is the City going to get input on Capital Budget, and to encourage people to be proactive (i.e. suggest project) instead of reactive in this process.
You can get more information about City Planning’s NPP and view the plan from the NPP page on CPC’s website. Until July 10, you can provide your comments to CPC by emailing them at CPCinfo@nola.gov (put NPP in the Subject), calling 658-7033, faxing 658-7032, or mailing them to 1340 Poydras Street, Suite 900, New Orleans, LA 70112. The Planning Commission will revise this draft and then submit it to the Planning Commission for a July 24 vote. The NPP will then go to City Council for final review.
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