New Orleans is nearing the end of a four-year process to update the master plan for zoning. The new comprehensive plan will update one that has been in place for more than 40 years.
It’s called the Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance, and it’s designed to bring New Orleans into alignment of what it will look like and how it will operate for decades to come.
Bob Rivers is executive director of the City Planning Commission. He says evidence of the current zoning plan in place since the 1970s can be seen throughout the city. When it was approved, the concept was promoting a suburban design.
“A lot of our historic architecture is buildings are built right up to the street frontage," he said. "They have very small side yard setbacks. And then every once in a while you’ll see this house that looks like it was built in the 1970s or 80s and it’s set back 20 feet. And it looks completely out of character than the rest of the street. That’s because the existing development pattern was not permitted by the zoning that was in place.”
The updated ordinance will also require large developments to provide onsite stormwater management that won’t require pumping into Lake Pontchartrain.
Rivers says the new plan is now available on the planning commission’s website. Zoning for individual properties can be checked, along with entire neighborhoods.
Public comments can still be submitted to the planning commission. The City Council is expected to approve the plan by the end of this year.