Press Round-up on City Council’s Adoption of Neighborhood Participation Program

Update September 5, 2013: Include a letter to the editor from Keith Twitchell in response to David Marcello’s Op-Ed.

 

On Thursday, August 22, City Council adopted the zoning changes to implement City Planning Commission’s Neighborhood Participation Program (NPP) for land use actions. Ever since, there have been a number of press releases, email blasts, editorials, and post about the NPP adoption, some of these take partial credit for the work. I will include links to all of media and outreach about the NPP below.

First, I would like to thank the City Planning Commission for their work on the NPP. It was their plan, and they did the majority of work on it, particularly the CPC staff. Out of all the people/organizations given credit for the NPP, I have felt like City Planning has been an after thought. Certainly others were involved from City Council, to the Administration, neighborhood groups, community group (like CBNO and others), and individual residents. I just want to make sure that the City Planning Commission get the credit that they deserve, because they came up with a great plan to engage residents, businesses, neighborhoods, developers, and city government. Congratulations City Planning!

Here is a round-up of media and press releases regarding City Planning’s NPP (in order of release):

NOLA CPP Blog Post & NOLA CPP Newsletter

Mayor’s Neighborhood Engagement Office’s Statement

City Council August 22 Meeting Summary

Stacy Head Newsletter

David Marcello, of The Public Law Center, Op-Ed in the TP | nola.com

Keith Twitchell of Committee for a Better New Orleans, letter to the editor in the TP Nola.com: http://www.nola.com/opinions/index.ssf/2013/09/new_orleans_zoning_applicants.html#incart_river

 

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Video of Council vote on the NPP

Here is the video of City Council unanimously approving the changes to the Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance to implement the City Planning’s Neighborhood Participation Program (NPP) for land use actions.

 

http://vimeo.com/73334433

NEO statement on City Council passing City Planning’s Neighborhood Participation Program

From the Mayor’s Neighborhood Engagement Office:

 

City Council passes the Neighborhood Participation Program (NPP) for Land Use Actions 
Dear Neighborhood Leaders,

Today, by request of the Landrieu Administration, the City Council passed the Neighborhood Participation Program (NPP) for Land Use Actions.  This is a major milestone, and I’d like to thank you for your engagement and hard work to make it happen.  Working together with the City Council, the City Planning Commission, neighborhood and business leaders, we now have a streamlined process that makes sense.

Mayor Landrieu has said, “We are building a city for the ages.”  To that end, we need clear and predictable rules for businesses and developers, and we need meaningful dialogue with neighborhoods.  The Neighborhood Participation Plan for Land Use Actions encourages early citizen involvement in the development review process and improves communication between the development community, citizens, and the City of New Orleans.

We look forward to working with you as the City implements the Neighborhood Participation Plan for Land Use Actions.

Sincerely,

Mayor’s Neighborhood Engagement Office

 

 

City Council amends Zoning Ordinance to implement Neighborhood Participation Program

Back on May 2, City Council adopted the City Planning Commission’s Neighborhood Participation Program (NPP) for land use actions. However, the final ordinance to amend the Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance to implement the NPP was on hold until today (August 22) when it was approved by City Council in a unanimous  vote. The ordinance adopted by City Council to implement the NPP is available at this link.

City Planning’s Neighborhood Participation Program will improve the notice that is given to nearby residents and neighborhood organizations. It will also require the developer, business, or applicant to hold a meeting and invite nearby residents and neighborhood groups prior to submitting his or her application to the City Planning Commission. More information, and the entire plan, can be found on the NPP page on City Planning’s website.

The amendment to the Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance will go into effect at noon the day after it is signed by the Mayor, which is required by law to take place within 10 days. At that point the all applicants will be subject to the NPP and will need to comply with the expanded notice requirement and meet with nearby residents and neighborhood organizations. The City Planning Commission is putting together a guide for residents and businesses on the NPP, which should be available soon on its website.
CBNO and NPN will be working with CPC staff and the Neighborhood Engagement Office to help bring information about the NPP to residents, neighborhoods, and business groups.  If you would like to schedule a presentation on the NPP for your group, please let us know.

 

Celebrate Oktoberfest on September 10 & Support CBNO

Drink a beer for the cause!  On Tuesday, September 10, Committee for a Better New Orleans will be the featured nonprofit at the Oktoberfest tapping party at the Gordon Biersch brewpub (200 Poydras Street at Convention Center Boulevard; validated parking in the Harrah’s garage).  From 5:30 to 7:30 PM there will be free food and Oktoberfest samples, music, probably a raffle, lots of great people and conversation, and general festivities.  And Gordon Biersch will generously donate $1 for every beer sold to CBNO.  It should be a lot of fun, and it’s the best excuse you will ever have to drink a good beer!  We look forward to seeing you then.

 

City Planning’s NPP back on City Council’s docket for Thursday, August 22

Update August 21, 2012: City Planning’s NPP is #2 on the City Council Agenda Highlights for their August 22 meeting.

 

After being deferred for three straight meetings, the City Planning Commission’s Neighborhood Participation Program (NPP) is back on City Council agenda for Thursday’s meeting (see item 34 on the regular agenda). We are once again hopeful that the NPP will be approved on Thursday.

 

The City Planning Commission adopted it Neighborhood Participation Program back in July 2012. You can find the NPP at this link. City Council has also approved the NPP, but they have not adopted the ordinance to implement the NPP requirements in the Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance.

 

For those you want to attend the meeting, it is Thursday, August 22 at 10am in City Council Chambers. You can also watch the meeting on Cox Channel 5 or on City Council’s website.

NOLA CPP August 2013 Project Report

From NOLA CPP’s Global Giving webpage:

 

August 2013 Project Report

Perhaps it is just the summer heat in New Orleans, but things have been moving more slowly than we would like over the past few months.  While our work to bring Participatory Budgeting to New Orleans is engaging a much greater number of people, implementation of the Neighborhood Participation Plan (NPP) is on hold as the City Council repeatedly defers votes on amendments and final passage (among the many quirks of local government is that despite unanimous passage of the NPP in May by the Council, it still requires one more vote before it is formally adopted).

For the third consecutive time, the Council deferred the NPP at its August 8 meeting.  Ironically, at the same meeting, final approval was given to three businesses whose initial proposals were met with considerable neighborhood resistance but who ultimately had the support of their neighbors and neighborhood associations after meeting with them.  This is exactly what the NPP will accomplish; and it will make this kind of outcome the norm in New Orleans rather than something rare and remarkable.  With concrete evidence in front of them of the value of the Plan, it was all the more disappointing to see its final adoption deferred once again — this time, supposedly at the request of New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu.  We have been told yet again that the NPP will receive final approval at the next Council meeting; but it is nothing short of amazing that what would be a slam dunk anywhere else gets turned into a political football in New Orleans.  Nevertheless, we are forging ahead with implementation tools and strategies, working with our Citizen Advisory Team, the Planning Commission staff and our partners in the New Orleans Coalition on Open Governance (NOCOG; www.nocog.org).

Much cheerier news on the Participatory Budgeting front.  The NOCOG PB NOLA campaign, with which CBNO is closely involved and which links directly to the citizen participation infrastructure work, has conducted two “teach-ins” in the last three weeks.  Not only is this informing more New Orleans residents about opportunities to have input into the city budgeting process, we have now enlisted a number of community members into working with us on the campaign.  Community engagement is great; community ownership is even more powerful.  Further acceleration of this campaign is inevitable.

In late July, the National Council of La Raza national conference took place in New Orleans, with CBNO partner Puentes New Orleans serving as the local host.  CBNO served on the conference host committee, and teamed up with Puentes and the Latino Forum to put on a workshop during the conference.  Our presentation focused on results from the 2012 CBNO-Puentes Latino Community Survey, highlighting obstacles and opportunities relating to Latino residents and civic engagement.  Also during the conference, we debuted our follow-up survey, focusing on issues of health care and education for Latino residents.  These were identified as priority issues in the first survey, as well as in conversations with local Latino leaders.  The city’s Department of Health, which has already used findings from the first survey to improve access to health care information and services for Latinos, helped design the new survey, along with several prominent Latino education and faith leaders.  Surveys will be conducted throughout the fall, and the findings will be used to advocate for changes in policies and practices to produce better outcomes in both areas for New Orleans Latinos.

Slogging through the world of politics is never fun, but we will absolutely persist.  We are appreciative of the many local officials who do support meaningful civic engagement, and also of the encouragement and support we receive from colleagues and supporters from afar.  We think of all of you as being part of our team, and could not do this work without you!