NFB General Meeting May 2, 2018
Meeting called to order by president Julie Jones at 7:14PM.
Commander Frank Young from the 5th district was introduced. He spoke to us about the recent “crime wave”, specifically a string of alarming “long gun robberies”. The first one reported was April 22nd on France St. Police got surveillance video of it and were able to make out that the robber was in a black Lexus. On April 23 another robbery by the same perpetrator was reported on Royal St. On the 24th a phone was found on the scene of yet another robbery on Marigny street. Yet another robbery on the 1000 block of Bartholomew April 27th, this time the victim was “pistol whipped” with the long gun. All this time there were 5 or more other robberies, apparently by the same perpetrator, being reported in other districts. Last night (May 1) they were able to triangulate a location using the recovered cell phone and arrested 2-3 people in the black Lexus. An AK-47 was found in the car, presumed to be the “long gun” used in the crimes, and some of the stolen items were also found. DNA testing is underway for some items. One suspect confessed to one of the robberies. The primary suspect, who had an appraisal for a stolen ring in his pocket, was sentenced to 10 years 2 years ago. It is unknown why he was on the streets.
Mark Gonzales suggested NOPD have a program to help citizens get security cameras and give information on best practices when installing them. Rick Prince mentioned that the HDLC has a problem with cameras being lower down on historical structures, and Commander Young noted the cameras mounted high up are less useful to them, as it is harder to ID people from that angle.
Commander Young has requested police security cameras along Press St, and had previously requested one near Port and St. Claude Ave where 5 people were shot April 30th. He referred to the area as a “hot spot”. He said he also asked for one on Lesseps St. where his car was recently broken into.
It was noted that we do have a community liaison now, but he apparently doesn’t have a phone number for the public to contact him with yet. Commander Young also mentioned a program called “Coffee With Cops” where citizens can discuss their concerns with officers. He was thanked (and awarded homemade cookies) for his time.
Sherman Strategies, who were scheduled to speak about their plans for their development at 3060 Dauphine, cancelled at the last minute as their drawings were not ready to show yet. It is hoped they will come to the June 7th meeting.
Curtis Doucette from Iris Development and Will Bradshaw from Green Coast Enterprises were then introduced. Iris Development has addressed NFB in the past regarding their plans for an apartment complex at 2930 Burgundy St (the entire uptown side of Montegut St between Burgundy and Dauphine). Green Coast Enterprises is now partnering with Iris on the project. They showed us revised plans for the apartment building, which they plan to build along the entire uptown side of the 1000 block of Montegut. It includes a fairly large commercial space at the corner of Dauphine and Montegut. No zoning changes or conditional uses are necessary for the development, which has been reduced from 105 to 70 apartments by removing the units above the commercial space. Part of the reason for the new design is to lower the cost of the building so they can offer “workforce housing” with 10% “even more affordable”. Units are smaller as well, lowering rent by $400-$500. Market rate apartments are projected to be $1400/mo for a 600 sq ft one bedroom and $1800-1900/mo for a 850-950 sq ft two bedroom apartment. “Affordable” units are projected to be $800-$900 for a one bedroom and $1000-$1100 for a two bedroom.
The residential part of the building is still five stories and all the trees will be removed to make room for the building. Parking has been moved to beside the building on the track side. There will be 72 parking places and there are a few small permeable areas. A swimming pool is planned for the roof above a covered section of the parking lot, adjacent to the commercial space. It is possible the pool could serve the commercial space. STRs will not be allowed. Sublets are prohibited under all the current Iris leases. The commercial space will be painted with large murals. Solar panels are being considered for the roof of the residential building. Power generated would be sold back to the grid as is required by current state law.
Mark Gonzales suggested eaves or some decorative element around the windows of the residential section. Rhonda Findley agreed that the building as it is currently designed, is just a “big white box… not reflective to the historic neighborhood it is in, and not an attractive gateway to Bywater”, and suggested the plans be submitted to the HDLC for review. The developers said they had not considered that, as property is not in the historic district, but they were open to suggestions. Another attendee suggested breaking up the façade by having areas without windows inset. He said it would make the building more attractive to renters and assist in air flow, ect… The developers said their engineers told them any changes to the basic box shape would make the building more expensive, and result in higher rents for the units. Curtis and Will were thanked for their time and continued efforts to keep the neighbors informed.
Julie reminded the crowd that the City Council vote regarding the controversial “Sun Yard” hotel proposal was the next afternoon (May 3rd), probably around 2PM. She introduced Jason (architect) and Todd (public relations) from Sun Yard, who brought recently revised plans with them, and encouraged anyone interested in reviewing or discussing them to stay after the meeting to do so. She also introduced Sun Yard opponents in attendance in case anyone had questions for them.
Meeting ended at 8:10 PM
Tyler Harwood, co-secretary
A PDF of these minutes can be downloaded here.