New Orleans City Council Votes On CZO, Last Minute Amendments

NEW ORLEANS – The New Orleans City Council voted unanimously on Thursday to approve a Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance (CZO) for the City’s Master Plan at the end of a 10-hour meeting.

         According to The Advocate’s Jaquetta White, the City Council mulled over the current CZO for more than 4 years and it’s the first overhaul in more than 40 years.

         White reports the CZO will guide the city’s long term development and give legal legitimacy to specific principles regarding land usage, height limits, structure sizes, design standards and rules and regulations.

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         According to The Times Picayune’s Robert McClendon and Richard A. Webster, the new CZO will loosen restrictions for bars and restaurants in the French Quarter and create new requirements for affordable housing in the city.


         Some of the issues voted upon were:

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• Redefining the definition of “cigar bar,” that critics allege would lead to “spot zoning”

• Upholding some of the Vieux Carre Commission’s jurisdictional influence over the Department of Safety and Permits and the City Planning Commission

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• Omitting language that would force commercial developers to be “respectful” of residential uses and the overall quality of life in a mixed-use area of the French Quarter

• Allowing new construction along the riverfront in The Riverfront Design Overlay District to exceed current height limits


         Keith Hardie, Jr., a New Orleans attorney and neighborhood activist, said, “It's now official. The alcohol, tourism, and restaurant industries control the City. They got everything they wanted in the new CZO, except their request to turn every restaurant into a liquor store…. The CZO, as passed yesterday, will allow every restaurant in town (with some exceptions on Magazine Street), by right, to stay open to 2:00 a.m., to have alcohol by right and to have amplified live music. By right. No permit necessary. No good neighbor agreements. No conditional use hearings. No neighborhood input. “

         For additional coverage, click here and here




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