Planetizen - Urban Planning News, Jobs, and Education

Independent Analysis of New Orleans Planning Process and Draft Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance by Daniel R. Mandelker

Smart Growth for Louisiana, Inc.

It could be the most comprehensive, independent analysis of an urban planning process ever undetaken for an American city.

It was commissioned over six-months ago by a broad-based, non-profit coalition -- who quietly raised $30,000 from supporters as diverse as grassroots neighborhood groups . . . to prominent real estate developers. While both have often found themselves on opposite sides of the fence, both stand to benefit immeasureably from a clearly-defined, orderly planning process.

Now, eminent land use attorney and St. Louis law professor Daniel Mandelker makes tough recommendations about the city's current chaotic and highly-politicized planning process, which he has candidly described as the "mockery of ad hockery," and he calls for nothing less than a radical planning revolution.

That revolution will start with New Orleans' diverse and often historic neighborhoods, who must be legally structured into the planning process. Following a revision of that process, a master plan must be developed and given the force of law at the City Council level. The zoning ordinance, moreover, must track, conform to, and be consistent with this plan. Mr. Mandelker points to neighboring Baton Rouge's city charter as a successful model for integrated public planning.

Mr. Mandelker gives failing marks to New Orleans'1999 land use plan "because it does not consider the distinctive quality of the city's historic neighborhoods." He also finds that the draft comprehensive zoning ordinance is inadequate and should be "shelved" until a more effective zoning ordinance can be prepared.

As high-profile, reactive land use battles ranging from the recent Arabella Bus Barn redevelopment to the controversal St. Thomas/Wal-Mart proposal continue to consume massive amounts of time, energy, and money, the Mandelker report outlines a visionary, pro-active planning process with a legal backbone. It will put residets, developers, and elected officials of the city that Mr. Mandelker deems "a national treasure" finally working together on the same page.

Related Link:

For more information contact:

William Borah
Smart Growth for Louisiana, Inc.
533 Esplanade Avenue
New Orleans
LA 70116
USA

Phone: 504 944-4010
Fax: 504 942-317s
Email: [email protected]

Published on:
February 13, 2002 - 11:26am
Share Tweet LinkedIn Email