New Orleans Planning By Force of Law

New Orleans residents this Election Day will decide whether to grant the "force of law" to the city's master plan, making it more difficult for officials to make amendments and exceptions for specific projects. The master plan has yet to be written.

"The charter amendment also would require the city for the first time to create 'a system for organized and effective neighborhood participation in government.'"

"Giving the master plan the force of law is intended to make it more difficult for the City Council to change zoning laws or grant exceptions so as to advance or block specific projects."

"Lawyer and preservationist William Borah, who for years waged an almost single-handed campaign for "a master plan with the force of law," says the charter amendment would end 'planning by surprise.'"

"'Despite the way the current zoning ordinance classifies the use of a particular piece of property, the city's major developments usually hinge on the will of the City Council member in whose district the development happens to lie,' Borah wrote recently. 'If the text of the zoning ordinance does not permit a development desired by a public official, the ordinance is simply amended and the zoning map altered.'"

"However, the proposal has since stirred up considerable criticism, with most of it focused on the fact that voters are being asked to give legal force to a master plan when they have no idea what the plan will say."

Full Story: New Orleans city charter amendment would give master plan force of law

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