City Council will vote on Neighborhood Participation Program on Thursday

Update (05/01/13): The Vote will take place around 1:30pm on Thursday, May 2.

The agenda for the Thursday, May 2 City Council is available online, and the City Planning Commission’s Neighborhood Participation Program (Item 41 on Page 26) and the CZO text amendments implementing the NPP (Item 10 on Page 15) are on the docket.

Both of these items will go a long way to further engage residents in the land use and zoning decision making processes. It should end “Planning by Surprise” in New Orleans. Therefore, we are very supportive of the implementation of City Planning’s NPP. You can view the entire NPP at this link.

The City Council meeting is Thursday, May 2 in City Council Chambers at City Hall. We are not sure what time these items will come up, but it will come up sometime after 11am. If you want to contact your City Councilmembers, their information is available here: City Council Contact Info

Latest NOLA CPP Newsletter

The Latest NOLA CPP Newsletter has information on the upcoming May 2 vote by City Council on the Neighborhood Participation Program, which would implement early notice for land use and zoning decision. It also includes information on getting involved the NORD Commission and Saturday’s workshop on neighborhood participation in land use and zoning. Here is the link to the newsletter.

 

 

City Council to vote on Early Notification System on May 2

The New Orleans City Council just released the agenda for its April 18 meeting. The zoning code text changes to implement the City Planning Commission’s Neighborhood Participation Program (NPP) are on the agenda, but the full NPP is not. Based on that and conversations with City Council staff, we are confident that the NPP will be deferred from the April 18 meeting to the May 2 meeting.

City Planning’s Neighborhood Participation Program (NPP) will create the Early Notification System (ENS), which is a key component of the NOLA CPP Model. The ENS and NPP provides early notice of land use and zoning applications to nearby residents and neighborhoods. It also requires that developers hold a meeting to discuss the proposed development and invite neighborhoods and residents. This will be a significant step forward for the City Planning Commission and the New Orleans Citizen Participation Project. You can view the full City Planning NPP report at this link: City Planning Commission NPP

 

CBNO and NPN to host a Land Use and Zoning Workshop for the Gert Town Community

On Saturday, Committee for a Better New Orleans (CBNO), Neighborhoods Partnership Network (NPN), and Gert Town Revival Initiative (GRI) will host a community workshop in Gert Town on neighborhood participation in land use and zoning decisions. The meeting will be on Saturday, April 20 from 10am to noon at Little Zion Baptist Church at 4821 Earhard Blvd. Here is a flyer for this event: Planning&ZoningForum_FINAL.

 

Here are the complete meeting details:

Neighborhood Participation in Land Use and Zoning

Saturday, April 20, 10am – Noon

Little Zion Baptist Church

4821 Earhard Blvd

 

Update: Here is the Presentation for the event: Gert Town Planning Forum Outline

If you have any questions about this event, please contact Nick Kindel at nolacpp@gmail.com or 267-4665.

NORA Announces 2,000 Properties Eligible for the Expanded Lot Next Door Program

The New Orleans Redevelopment Authority has released a list of some 2,000 properties that are eligible for purchase through the Lot Next Door Program. City Council just recently voted to expand this program to any adjacent property owner (not just those next door). Between May 1 and August 1, you will be able to fill out an expression of interest form, which will be available on NORA website during that time frame. This is a requirement to be able to purchase a next door property. See below for a table, a map, and more information about the expanded Lot Next Door Program.

You can view a table of the Lot Next Door Properties at this link: https://data.nola.gov/Administrative-Data/List-Of-Properties-Eligible-For-New-Lot-Next-Door-/xtav-rgc7

You can view a map of the Lot Next Door Properties at this link: https://data.nola.gov/Administrative-Data/Lot-Next-Door-Properties/sqk7-tzz2

 

Here is the Press Release from NORA/the City:

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
04/12/2013Media Contact:   Jasmine J. Haralson
Director of External Affairs
504.658.4421
jjharalson@nola.gov
NORA RELEASES LIST OF PROPERTIES FOR EXPANDED LOT NEXT DOOR PROGRAM
NEW ORLEANS, LA – The New Orleans Redevelopment Authority (NORA) in partnership with the Mayor’s office and City Council is pleased to announce the release of the list of properties for the amended Lot Next Door Ordinance.  The City Council adopted Ordinance 29,397 on February 21 and the Mayor signed it into law on February 25, 2013.Beginning today NORA will publish the list of available properties in the Times-Picayune. The list is also available on NORA’s website www.noraworks.org and at data.nola.gov, the City’s official data catalog.Eligible Lot Next Door buyers MUST notify NORA of its intent to purchase a Lot Next Door property by completing an Expression of Interest (EOI) form.  The EOI form will be available on NORA’s website www.noraworks.org beginning May 1, 2013 until August 1, 2013. The deadline to complete an expression of interest (EOI) form is August 1, 2013. Submitting an expression of interest does not guarantee a purchase.In order to be considered for the Lot Next Door Program you must share a common boundary to an eligible Lot Next Door Property and meet all other eligibility requirements.  For more information regarding qualifications and eligibility please visit NORA’s website www.noraworks.org and click on the Lot Next Door tab or contact the Lot Next Door Program Office at 504.658.4422.

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The New Orleans Redevelopment Authority is a catalyst for the revitalization of the city, partnering in strategic developments that celebrate the city’s neighborhoods and honor its traditions. 

Video: NOLA CPP on Hot Seat

On Sunday, March 3 Keith Twitchell from Committee for a Better New Orleans and Timolynn Sams from Neighborhoods Partnership Network appeared on WDSU’s Hot Seat.  The topic of the conservation was the New Orleans Citizen Participation Project. The video of the appearance can be found on YouTube at the following links:

Part 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VZBjZQ_nMWM

Part 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iu5Qi1oASD0

City Councils Approves Reallocating $140 Million in Capital Funds

At today’s meeting, City Council approved reallocating about $140 million in the City’s Capital Budget. Ordinance Number 29491, or item #57 on the agenda, was approved on the consent agenda without any comments or deliberation. This item did come up at Tuesday’s Budget Committee Meeting, but there was little conversation about it at that meeting. Deputy Mayor Grant said that this Ordinance would make technical corrections, replace project cost projection with actual project costs, and would apply new bond money to the Capital Budget.

Here is Ordinance Number 29491 with all of the individual project costs. I had trouble reading all of this information, so I put it all into a spreadsheet (Capital Budget Changes). Of the changes to the Capital Budget, there is approximately $63 million in de-appropriations and $77 million in appropriation. So the changes added about $14 million to the Capital Budget. So this go go beyond just minor and technical corrections.

When you dig a little deeper into the Captial Budget and the proposed changes, a number of question came to my mind. First, I could not find the adopted Capital Budget on the City’s website. The Mayor’s Office webpage has the proposed 2013 Capital Budget, but I could not find the version of the budget that was approved by City Council. Here are some other questions from the proposed capital budget changes:

  • Department of Public Works (streets, streetlights and drainage) is always listed by residents as one of their top concerns (see any of the Mayor’s Budget hearings), so then why is over $17 million being de-appropriated from Public Works?
  • $732,000 is being removed from “Marconi Bike Path” and $732,000 is being allocated to “Splash Park Enhancements.” Are these to projects linked? If so, who and how was it decided to take money away from the Bike Path and give to the Splash Park? Finally, there is a splash park in New Orleans?
  • About $7.5 million is going to the CAO for “Capital Project Management.” Management sounds like this is money for personnel, so won’t that be an operating expense?
  • What was the $1 million that Parks and Parkways was going to use for “Teachers Pet Improvements”?
  • There are a number of other items that I am sure neighborhood residents would have questions about like why is $3 million being removed from Lincoln Beach, why is $400,000 being taken away from land acquisition in the Lower Ninth Ward, and why is $600,000 being removed from the Gert Town Pool?

I am sure that there are rational answers to these questions. I raise these questions to make a bigger point, without transparency in the budgeting process, how will get the answers to these questions to ensure that City funds are being properly spent and that spending is aligned with the budget priorities of New Orleanians.