CALL-TO-ACTION: Support Protections for Congo Square and ADUs; Vote ‘NO’ on NPP Changes

New Orleans City Planning Commission (CPC) is holding a Special Public Hearing on Tuesday, April 5th, at 1:30 PM to consider three important Zoning Dockets: 

ZD 11/22 (Agenda Item #3) – Protects Congo Square from the attempted relocation of the Municipal Auditorium 

ZD 12/22 (Agenda Item #4) – Changes to Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) regulations  

➡ ZD 17/22 (Agenda Item #6) – Changes to the Neighborhood Participation Program (NPP) on zoning and land-use matters 


We ask that you review our summary of these three agenda items and utilize our sample comments either at the in-person hearing or through CPC’s online public comment submission form. 

WHAT: CPC Public Hearing 

WHEN: Tuesday, April 5th, at 1:30 PM 

WHERE: City Council Chamber, City Hall, 1300 Perdido Street, New Orleans, LA 70112 OR E-Public Comment Form 


📌 Zoning Docket 11/22 seeks to protect Congo Square from the Mayor’s proposal to relocate the Municipal Auditorium to Armstrong Park through a zoning change. GNOHA supports this measure. 

Sample Comments in Support of ZD 11/22: 

✔ I support the protections of Congo Square as a historic community space and cultural hub. Maintain sacred grounds and vote ‘yes’ on ZD 11/22! 

✔ I stand with Treme residents and the Save Our Soul Coalition against the City Hall move to Armstrong Park and any future attempts to impede on Congo Square. I ask that the Commission votes to approve ZD 11/22. 


📌 Zoning Docket 12/22 seeks to expand accessibility of ADUs citywide, which would promote: 

🏡 Diversity of housing stock – New Orleans’ population is decreasing, and the current housing stock is not keeping up with ever-changing demographics in familial units. ADUs provide more practical housing opportunities for low-income renters, single roommates, and our aging population in need of at-home care. 

💲 Homeowner stabilization – Struggling homeowners can collect additional income to contribute to increased housing costs by providing a small-scale rental unit directly on their lot. 

👩‍👧 Anti-displacement – With STR restrictions codified in the staff report, ADUs can provide a social safety net for communities and remedy generational displacement of long-term New Orleans residents. 

Sample Comments in Support of ZD 12/22: 

✔ New Orleans’ population is decreasing, and the current housing stock is not keeping up with ever-changing demographics in familial units. ADUs provide more practical housing opportunities for low-income renters, single roommates, and our aging population in need of at-home care. With STR restrictions codified in the staff report, ADUs can provide a social safety net for communities and remedy generational displacement of long-term New Orleans residents. #PutHousingFirst and vote to approve ZD 12/22. 

✔ Single-family zoning has historically been used as a tool to promote segregation and disinvestment. The outdated notion that renters contribute to decreased property value and increased crime holds deep-seated racial and classist bias that does not align with statistical data. Please do not codify bigotry that is not grounded in facts. #PutHousingFirst and vote to approve ZD 12/22. 

✔ I ask that the Commission does not fall victim to “all-or-nothing” rationale in the toxic cycle of NIMBYism impeding the expansion of affordable housing opportunities in New Orleans. Policies that seek to increase accessibility and equity in amenity-rich neighborhoods should not be completely thrown out over the possibility of some units becoming STRs. #PutHousingFirst and vote to approve ZD 12/22. 

✔ The City’s Assessment of Fair Housing and the HousingNOLA 10-Year Strategy and Implementation Plan both call for increased density in exchange for affordability. Changes in ADU regulations citywide offer a unique opportunity to help communities build wealth while expanding a type of small-scale housing stock that is contextually appropriate in size and blends into the existing neighborhood character. #PutHousingFirst and vote to approve ZD 12/22. 

✔ In the vein of historic preservation, slave quarters were considered ADUs, and changes in regulations that would facilitate in the expansion of ADUs throughout neighborhoods in New Orleans can act as an adaptation for the modern housing needs of low-income Black renters in need of one-bedroom and two-bedroom units. This can turn our country’s ugly and systematically racist history into equitable housing justice for all. #PutHousingFirst and vote to approve ZD 12/22.

 


📌 Zoning Docket 17/22 is a reactionary proposal that seeks to further prevent the development of multi-family housing opportunities through a strenuous public engagement process that prioritizes the problematic opinions of neighbors over the data-driven demand to expand affordable housing opportunities in New Orleans. Although GNOHA agrees that the Neighborhood Participation Program is in desperate need of an overhauled reform, the current iteration of this zoning docket does not successfully address the inequities that marginalized communities face in the public engagement process. 

Sample Comments in Opposition of ZD 17/22: 

❌ The original motion from the City Council for CPC to consider ZD 17/22 is plagued with mal-intent. As predicted, the suggested recommendations are punitive and do not touch at the root of our city’s transparency problems. Please do not entertain this motion that was only drafted out of spite from a government body that refuses to reach across the table to work through hard conversations and craft meaningful solutions. Vote no on ZD 17/22. 

❌ ZD 17/22 lacks the mechanisms needed to ensure true accessibility and equity and, in fact, further enables serial privileged participants in major land-use decisions. Until we have an NPP process that effectively encourages and welcomes the people actually affected by these decisions to participate – including service workers, culture bearers, voucher holders, renters, non-nuclear households/non-traditional families, and the displaced – vote no on the current iteration of ZD 17/22. 

❌ The portion of ZD 17/22 that would add more regulations to major subdivision decisions in the NPP process opens the door for more scattered sites and multi-family housing opportunities to be thwarted by neighbors who continue to deploy discriminatory and racially-coded bias in an attempt to hoard neighborhood amenities and promote segregation. Please don’t give wealthy homeowner associations more tools to dictate who is and isn’t allowed to live in their neighborhoods. Vote no on ZD 17/22. 

❌ As a concerned resident, I urge CPC to not enable the City Council’s reactive, rushed, and contradictory policy recommendations that further seek to justify and codify segregation in 2022. Do not endorse this problematic power play. Vote no on ZD 17/22. 

❌ We have the opportunity to properly enact meaningful changes to the NPP process through a racial equity framework. Housing inequity still lingers today due to our nation’s history of downzoning, redlining, and disinvestment of Black and Brown neighborhoods. Every modern-day zoning and land-use matter should always center solutions to rectify systematic racism, which includes an intentional effort to uplift Black and Brown voices in the NPP process. Until this framework is added, vote no on ZD 17/22. 


Resources: 

·        Full Agenda 

·        ZD 11/22 Staff Report 

·        ZD 12/22 Staff Report 

·        GNOHA Twitter Thread: ADU Public Engagement Meeting 

·        ZD 17/22 Staff Report 

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