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Thu October 3, 2013

New Orleans Mapping Future Through Zoning Ordinance

New Orleans officials are explaining the new zoning ordinance in a series of public meetings.

New Orleans residents are getting a glimpse of the future in the city’s proposed new zoning laws. The latest version comes after two years of reviews.

It’s called the comprehensive zoning ordinance.

More than 2,000 residents reviewed the first draft in 2011. Neighborhood groups are being asked to double-check what’s being proposed.

It outlines a vision devised after Hurricane Katrina of what New Orleans should become.

Stephen Villavaso is an urban planner in New Orleans who’s worked with the city on updating the master plan — something that hasn’t been overhauled since the 1970s. He says the new plan will include design and water management.

“We want to live in harmony with the environment," says Villavaso. "And so that’s why we have new storm water rules, the landscaping rules, the water management rules that fit together with land use regulations.” 

The 600-page plan is open for public comments through the end of next month, and is being explained at meetings throughout the city.

Villavaso says all 250,000 parcels in the city are available for review on maps on the city’s website, under "comprehensive zoning ordinance.”

He says a new element deals with something that didn’t exist in the 1970s — food trucks.

“They move around, so you know, what’s the land use issues? But it has an impact on parking and signage and infrastructure, and so it is not a typical restaurant that we would zone, but it does have land use implications,” he says.    

Public meetings are scheduled for the next three weeks. The ordinance will then be refined from comments that are submitted, and be sent to the planning commission and city council for hearings.

The final version is expected to be approved early next year.