At today’s Council meeting, the New Orleans City Council considered the last 15 amendments to the Master Plan. One of those amendments, Text Amendment #19, could have removed or weakened District Councils in the Master Plan. City Council voted 4 to 3 to reject Master Plan Text Amendment #19. By rejecting this amendment, this section of the Master Plan (Chapter 15 on Community Participation) will not be changed and District Councils will remain in the Master Plan.
Text Amendment #19 was proposed by the Director of the Neighborhood Engagement Office (NEO). NEO was not around when the Master Plan was adopted, so it would be reasonable for NEO to make minor modifications to the Community Participation Chapter of the Master Plan to include their Office. However, NEO proposed major revisions that would have removed much of this Chapter, including District Councils, from the Master Plan. This Amendment, proposed by one person without any community engagement, would have undone the work of thousands of New Orleanians in dozens of community meetings.
The New Orleans Citizen Participation Project (NOLA CPP) opposed Text Amendment #19 from the start. The City Planning Commission initially recommended approval of Text Amendment #19. The City Council, however, sent the Amendment back to City Planning for more review. NOLA CPP worked with City Planning staff on modified language for Text Amendment #19. This language was better than what was initially proposed by NEO, but the modified language still would have substantially weakened District Councils in the Master Plan. The Planning Commission voted 7 to 0 to send the modified language to City Council, after the initial 4 to 3 vote to reject Text Amendment #19 failed (it needed 5 votes to pass). Today, the final decision rested with the City Council who voted 4 to 3 to reject Text Amendment #19.
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