General Meeting – November 7th!

Our next meeting is this (yes, this) Wednesday, November 7 at 7pm in the Stalling Center, St. Claude, just before Poland, river side).

On the agenda:

Jeffrey Goodman will give us the most recent developments in the world of Short-Term Rentals.

The Historic District Landmark Commission will address questions related to the process of getting approval for alterations and additions to houses in a historic neighborhood.

Julie Jones will (briefly) give you the latest update on the HANO proposal for 4100 Royal (Mazant, Royal, Chartres and France).

AND, better yet, there will be snacks and drinks and someone to accept your big $5 for renewing your annual membership or becoming a member.

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2018 New Orleans Neighborhood Summit

The 2018 New Orleans Neighborhood Summit will be held on Saturday, November 10th, 2018 at the University of New Orleans Student Center.

The annual Neighborhood Summit celebrates the strength, history, and diversity of our city’s neighborhoods, bringing together community leaders, non-profit agencies, and city government. At the day-long summit, neighborhood leaders and residents share information across communities, develop new skills to bring home, and build relationships old and new. Allison Cormier, our neighborhood engagement liaison, comes to our general meetings regularly, and encourages us to come learn and grow with City deparmtents, numerous non-profits, and other residents throughout the City.

For more information and to RSVP visit the web site –
https://www.nola.gov/neighborhood-engagement/projects/summit/

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Important meeting on HANO development, this Tuesday, Oct. 9, 6:30 at the Stallings Center

Please find below an invitation to attend the ITEX/HANO “Stakeholders Meeting” on October 9th to discuss HANO’s plan to redevelop multiple sites in our area.

This plan involves a number of scattered HANO-owned  sites, but — most importantly — involves 4100 Royal, the huge vacant lot that they want to upzone dramatically and fill, dramatically, with a very large development. Note: this is a “stakeholders meeting.” A week later, on Tuesday, October 16, same time and place, will be an NPP (Neighborhood Participation Program) meeting only on the zoning change for 4100 Royal. This development at 4100 Royal will have a huge effect on our neighborhood. Come see for yourselves! 

September 19, 2018

Dear Neighbors First for Bywater:

We cordially invite you and your members to attend a stakeholder meeting to review the future development of HANO’s vacant sites located in the Upper 9th Ward, Marigny, and Bywater neighborhoods on:

Date: Tuesday, October 9, 2018 Time: 6:30pm-7:30 pm Location: Stallings St. Claude Recreation Center at 4300 St. Claude Avenue (Signs will be posted.)

The following is a list of HANO’s vacant properties that are in or near your association’s boundaries. More plans for the sites and additional information will be provided at the meeting.

Bywater: 

• a. 4100 Royal St—-Mazant Royal Site- Bywater. Mixed-Income Multi-family

• b. 4200 Royal- Bywater. Homeownership opportunity. 

• c. 710 Clouet St- Bywater Clouet Gardens. To remain Clouet Gardens.

Marigny:

• d. 2819 Dauphine St – Marigny. Homeownership opportunity. 

• e. 2818 Burgundy St – Marigny. Homeownership opportunity. 

• f. 2522 N Rampart St – Marigny. Homeownership opportunity.

Upper Ninth Ward: 

• g. 1830 Poland Ave- Upper 9th. Homeownership opportunity. 

• h. 1740 Poland Ave- Upper 9th. Homeownership opportunity.

The largest of the sites is 4100 Royal Street located in Bywater. The development plans are for mixed income multi-family. The other sites are smaller lots for single-family homeownership unless otherwise noted.

At the meeting you will be able to review plans for the HANO sites (listed above), give input and ask questions. Please contact our office if you would like printed copies of this letter to distribute to members who do not have email access.

Sincerely,

J. Nicole Webre
Nicole@webreconsulting.com
Office: (504-605-3699)

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NFB General Meeting August 1, 2018

NFB General Meeting August 1, 2018

   Called to order at 7:08PM by Brian Luckett, treasurer.

   Brian introduced NOPD 5th District Commander Frank Young.

   Commander Young noted a spike in robberies that has slowed since July 24th, and mentioned there had been some arrests connected with some of them. Two juveniles were arrested that were involved in numerous car thefts in the area, among other crimes. One of them is named Washington Wells, and has what Commander Young referred to as a “juvenile life sentence”. Another individual, named Kurt Johnson, was arrested for “crimes of violence”, and has since gotten out on bail. After his release NOPD was able to connect some robberies to him but he can’t be located now. There was some discussion of people having garbage cans stolen. One attendee mentioned that some are being “borrowed” by scavengers, and they are usually found a few blocks away.

   Commander Young then addressed the ongoing problems at the old NSA building, including trespassing and vandalism. He mentioned he noticed the water leak that was a problem for a long time had been fixed. He has sent a SWAT team to the buildings for training exercises and they did make some arrests. He lamented the fact the the NOPD does not have the time or resources to keep the property secure. Most of the violent crimes in our area are armed robberies, and many elsewhere in the 5th district are even worse crimes, like shootings. They have to prioritize. He said he had spoken to Councilmember Palmer about the NSA recently, and she is interested in helping police get some answers as to who is responsible for securing the property. Commander Young reiterated that his officers simply do not have the time for it as they have to focus more on violent crimes.

   An attendee described a run-in with an intruder at his house on the 600 block of France St. The gentleman expressed his frustration associated with the police response, apparently due to the crime taking place during the shift change, and was also upset his wife got a citation for driving the wrong way down the block as they chased the intruder, who ultimately got away. Commander Young wanted more information and they spoke privately after the presentation.

   Brian asked Commander Young if he was aware of any illegal activity at the old St. Margarets building (3419 St. Claude Ave.). The building is currently covered in graffiti and it is suspected that it has been broken into. Commander Young said he was not aware of it, but will look into it. He mentioned he had noticed homeless people have been moving closer to St Claude from the Claiborne area. The city has a clean up team, including social workers, police, and sanitation trucks, that pick up furniture and things to try and move homeless people from places they camp, but they can’t stop them from coming back.

   Another attendee asked if there were any updates regarding an armed robbery on the 3800 block of Rampart St.  Commander Young said they had made several arrests they think may be connected. One suspect was Kurt Johnson, who he had mentioned before was out on bail and now apparently on the run.

   Commander Young was thanked for his time.

   Willie Smith, a superintendent from Cimarron, was then introduced. Cimarron is the contractor hired by Entergy to replace the old gas lines all over the city. This project is the reason there have been holes in the sidewalks all over the neighborhood. The old cast iron lines are cracked and rusty and have lots of water in them, so must be replaced. The work has been going on for two years so far and they still have lots of streets left to finish. Holes on the corners usually have to stay open longer as the new high pressure gas lines need to be fed in with their machines going both ways down the street. Entergy tells the crew which areas to concentrate on at any given time, and if the river is over 11 feet the Army Corps of Engineers requires them to stop any work from Burgundy St down to Chartres St., which can slow them down significantly. Mr. Smith said they are very careful with plants and trees, and if there are any issues to contact him if there is damage that needs to be fixed. His number is (504)609-9115.

   Mr Smith was then joined by Jeff Gentry, the district manager, who was late to the meeting. They answered several personal inquiries as to when work would be completed in certain locations, and Mr. Gentry was writing down street names and phone numbers to follow up. They explained that the new meters would be going in some time next year after the new lines are in, but they are probably not contracted for that job. The new meters will be automatically read by satellite. They put in the new line up to a “gas riser”, which includes a pressure regulator, next to homes. They want to work with residents to be sure the risers are in good locations, as they know some houses are close together and we need to get through with garbage cans, etc… If residents have issues with the locations of the new risers they can call Mr. Smith or Mr. Gentry. Mr. Gentry’s number is (504)241-6831 (office) or (913)207-4005. They want to be sure the work is done right and continue to make a sincere effort to work with residents. Many people have been out of town so they have not been able to check with them regarding work as it proceeds. Once the new meters are in the gas will have to be turned off while the new meter is attached and someone will have to enter residents’ homes to light pilots before service can be restored. Mr. Smith and Mr. Gentry were thanked for their time, and they stayed to speak with people individually.

   Allison Cormier from The Mayor’s Neighborhood Engagement Office then addressed the group and encouraged us to apply to be resident volunteers for the Police-Community Advisory Board (PCAB). The PCAB program has an advisory board for each police district and each board has seven members. They have quarterly meetings and make requests to the police for things they think need attention in their neighborhoods. Open enrollment ends September 8th. More info can be found at https://www.nola.gov/neighborhood-engagement/projects/new-orleans-police-community-advisory-board-(pcab)/

   Mary Cunningham from Councilmember Palmer’s office then introduced herself to the group, and wanted us to know she was present and taking notes she would share with Ms. Palmer. She was thanked!

   Meeting ended at 8:01 PM

   Submitted by Tyler Harwood, co-secretary

 

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NFB Board Meeting – July 7, 2018

NFB Board Meeting, 7/7/18

Attending: Stephen Haedicke, Brian Luckett, Rhonda Findley, Susan Korec, Steve Jacobs, Anthony Eschmann, Nancy Thacker.

Meeting called to order by Brian at 7:21.

First up was planning for the August 1st meeting. All agreed that it would be good to invite Entergy to discuss all of the potholes, as well as Cimarron who has the contract for the gas line work. The work on the gas lines seems to be widely varied in the manner in which the work is done.

The possibility of reaching out to Parkway Partners and/or LSU extension regarding the coming tree planting, pruning and growing season in the fall was also discussed.

Brian will be providing food for this meeting, with Steve on water, and Anthony volunteered to bring a bottle of wine.

Next a discussion on the dilapidated state of the NSA property and the general problem of maintenance of large scale developments in the ‘in between’ phases. St, Margaret’s and NSA may not be properly addressed by the current blight law and all believe that there needs to be a minimum standard of maintenance for large scale developments such as these. As there has already been a meeting with Councilwoman Palmer where this was mentioned, it was motioned and seconded that we would pen a letter addressing the large scale blight problem over all, with the focus on these two specific properties in Bywater. Issues such as fencing maintenance, security lighting, security guards and cameras are all possible improvements to these blighted properties. Brian agreed to take the lead on this, along with Rhonda.

Rhonda shared the growing vision for the Bywater Banana Fest, with an introduction to the concept as a part of the tricentennial celebration in Clouet Gardens. Also it was agreed that a daytime or late afternoon event would be best attended. Finding a good weekend in the fall will be challenging, so perhaps during the week? Ongoing.

A brief discussion on Stateside Hostel, the protocol for next steps and a need to wait for some feedback and direction from near neighbors followed.

 

Meeting adjourned 8:09

Respectfully submitted: N. Thacker, Co-Secretary.

 

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General Meeting: Wednesday, August 1st

General Meeting: Wednesday, August 1st @7:00pm at the Stallings Center (Poland and St Claude)

At our next general meeting we will be hearing from a representative of Cimarron Underground: the company that is installing the high pressure gas lines and digging holes in the sidewalks. Come on out and ask all your questions about gas meters, holes in the sidewalks, schedules, etc. We will also have a representative from the 5th District talk about sketchy stuff going down in Bywater. Hope to see you there.

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Neighbors First for Bywater – Board Meeting – June 20, 2018

Neighbors First for Bywater – Board Meeting – June 20, 2018

Meeting called to order at 7:08PM

Present: Julie Jones, John Andrews, Brian Luckett, Anthony Eschmann, Mark Gonzales, Michael Owings, Susan Korec, Tyler Harwood, Nancy Thacker

Allen Johnson, president of Faubourg Marigny Improvement Association, spoke to the board about his eagerness to support us and Bywater neighbors in opposing the conditional use extension for the “Stateside” hotel development (Chartres @ Mazant). The developers sidestepped city council and apparently got a two year extension from Bob Rivers of the CPC. It was agreed that Mr. Rivers “overstepped his bounds” and it seems Councilmember Palmer is not pleased. He encouraged us to still go to the city council meeting, as we had planned, to express our feelings on these developments.

Mr. Johnson then spoke to us regarding Zoning Docket 071/18, which proposes to allow a conditional use for a Hampton Inn hotel at 501 Elysian Fields Ave. The FMIA is asking the CPC to deny the developers the conditional use request until they come up with a design that is appropriate for a historic district. The FMIA supports the development of a hotel at this site if it is a better fit for the neighborhood. The developer told the FMIA at one of their meetings that he would hire a design consultant to help the architect address these issues and never did. It was noted that Sean Cummings, then owner of the property,  prohibited presentations by the developer for a period of time. The latest version of the plans shows them including insignificant (i.e. non-historic)  warehouses instead of building something that could set a good precedent for other development in the area. If the hotel is allowed as it is currently designed it could be a spur for bad architecture on both sides of Elysian Fields. The developers have agreed to hire Gene Czick, an architect and authority on preservation, to help with design plans. The FMIA would like our support when the time comes, and the board unanimously agreed we should offer our support however we can. Mr. Johnson then left the meeting.

The conversation then returned to the “Stateside” hotel development, which is item #6 on the agenda for the City Council meeting June 21st. It was questioned whether Mr. Rivers had the authority to extend the conditional use as he did. One of the board members had spoken to a land-use attorney who noted that there was no stop-work order to prevent the developers from their work. They could have been building this whole time XXXX. In addition, the litigation was against the city, not against the developers. Michael Owings consulted a copy of the CZO and read Article 4, section 4.4.1.2 to the group:

  1.  Unless otherwise prohibited, the Executive Director of the City Planning Commission may extend the time for expiration of a planned development approval for a period not to exceed one (1) year upon a showing of good cause by the applicant. A request for extension shall be made in writing within the original period of validity. An extension for a period in excess of one (1) year may be granted only by the City Council in accordance with Paragraph b below.
  2.  The holder of a planned development may petition the City Council for a longer extension of time. A request for extension shall be made in writing within the original period of validity. The City Council shall hold a public hearing and decide whether to extend the time period. Notice for the public hearing is required in accordance with Section 3.3. The applicant and the owner of record of the property shall be notified of a public hearing to be conducted by the City Council. Following the public hearing, the City Council shall render its decision whether to terminate or extend the approval, taking into account hardship to the applicant or property owner, changes in surrounding circumstances that have occurred since the original approval, and the likelihood that substantial construction will occur during any period of extension.

It was suggested that one of us should read the rule at the council meeting and argue that proper procedure was not followed for an extension that should not have been granted in the first place. John Andrews plans to speak about the conditional use process, and how this project was not ever an appropriate candidate. Julie was encouraged to discuss what is appropriate for HMC-2 zoning. Brian also plans to attend. It was suggested that someone could mention that Jason Williams was the only member of the old city council with the courage to speak out against the project and to thank him. He said at the time, and we agreed, that the project would be great if it were in a better location, not in a quiet corner of a historic residential neighborhood. A similarity to the “Sun Yard”, which the council ultimately did not approve, may also be worth mentioning.

The board then discussed the next general meeting, which would fall on the evening of July 4th. We agreed it was not an ideal time. John Andrews motioned we cancel it, and the entirety of the board was in favor. The next board meeting is July 18, and Susan offered to host it.

The last general meeting was briefly recapped, and it was noted that it was a success and may be worth repeating in the fall when attendance may be better.

Brian Luckett told us about a group he joined that met with a colonel from the Army Corps of Engineers regarding the Section 106 process for a series of projects in New Orleans including wharves and the possible cruise ship terminal.

“Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, as amended (NHPA), requires Federal agencies to take into account the effects of their undertakings on Historic Properties and afford the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation a reasonable opportunity to comment on such undertakings.”

The group was there to express the need for public input and came away a bit discouraged. It is unclear whether the buildings for the cruise ship terminal would trigger the Section 106 process. Hounding the Corps will most likely not be effective. The State Historical Department would be good to contact.

Brian then gave us the good news that our application for the city’s tricentennial grant was approved! We have $1000 to throw a party, and we have to do it this year. Mark had previously recruited volunteers for a subcommittee and will get them together soon to discuss possibilities. We all like the idea of it being at Clouet Gardens, incorporating stories from long time residents, bananas, and possible participation from the neighboring Tigermen Den.

Meeting adjourned at 8:20PM.

Respectfully submitted,

Tyler Harwood, co-secretary

 

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Neighbors First for Bywater General Meeting – June 6, 2018

Neighbors First for Bywater General Meeting – 6/6/18 at Stallings Center

Julie Jones called the meeting to order at 7:12

The focus of the meeting was around the increase in crimes being committed by local youth.

Le Jon Roberts, 2nd in Command for the Fifth District and acting Commander addressed the uptick in juvenile crimes here and in the Marigny. He related that they “have a good account of what’s going on,” and that things are in place, including the introduction of two mounted police officers from 6pm – 10pm with perimeters of Franklin, Poland, Charters to St. Claude. There have been 200 more arrests of juveniles than this time last year. Roberts mentioned several times that this was a ‘revolving door,’ and not seemingly effective. The number of ‘repeat habitual offenders’ spikes in the summer. More cameras have gone up (Poland and St. Claude now has one, with three more planned in the net two weeks) so the Fifth District will be more protected and they are adding new people all the time.

Lieutenant Roberts extended an open invitation to the Fifth District’s weekly MAX meeting, held every Tuesday at 1:00 pm in the Fifth District station roll call room, located at 3900 N. Claiborne Avenue.  They also hold a monthly NONPACC meeting the second Wednesday of every month at 6:00 pm, same location. He can be reached at 504 658-6050; office 504 658-6515, email: lroberts@nola.gov. NOPD Hot-sheets – every second Wednesday of the month at 6pm at the station on Claiborne. Roberts encouraged everyone to report, report, report. The point was made that as a victim, you can report or not report, to prosecute is up to the District Attorney.

Aaron Clark-Rizzio from Center for Children’s Rights, Louisiana spoke next. He objects to locking up juvenile offenders. Instead, he would like to “promote public safety through interventions and policy that works.” He shared that he and his family, including a 2 & 5 year old, are all affected by the shootings around their house, and are concerned in getting correct and effective information out. Clark-Rizzio argued that law enforcement does not equal public safety. Louisiana has the highest incarceration rate in the country – they have been doing the same thing over and over again. Arresting, with full knowledge that this kind of punitive treatment of juvenile offenders only increases the chances of future crime. He advocates Restorative Justice Practices: a reflection of our community as well as all the ways that we have failed as a community. Use good information – in reality only 5-10% of calls for service are for kids. According to him, it is a myth that crime rates go up in the summer because school is out.  Research shows that crime is weather related. Community has to focus on needs and not behavior. 75% of arrests are for non-violent and/or crimes that didn’t involve a gun. Mostly theft, battery and pot infractions. It’s not about reporting, it’s about repair.

We were them introduced to Analiese De Wulf & Calvin Pepp. De Wulf is an emergency room doctor. She and Mr. Pepp both work with CeaseFire Nola, which is based in Central City. Calvin spoke mainly, as he is part of a Peer Support Group every Saturday Morning that is focused on ‘these kids.’ He shared his agreement that these are kids and don’t understand the magnitude of what they do – they are dealing with (re-enacting) a traumatic and chaotic environment. There is no help in punishment of the behavior when the cause is not addressed. That’s the revolving door.

CeaseFire is example of one Public Health approach. Violence acts like every other disease, it spreads. A team of people who used to get arrested, they clean up their lives and the go in their community as an ‘antibody’ to help clean up the disease. These programs have reduced gun violence in Central City: by 44% (from 12 murders to 5 a year) and 60% (shootings), They need more resources for: education on gun violence, identifying who can we help, and helping other understand how this will change the quality of their lives.

The team in the hospital emergency rooms engage the whole family when someone gets shot in order to to help stop retaliatory shootings. They have been working on this since 2012.

Ashlei Morrison, Director of Community Relations for NORD.. (Stallings Center, where we meet, is one of their facilities.) NORD is geared towards kids having something productive to do, as well as provide activities for people of different ages, and it’s only productive if the kids get to the facilities. NORD does not do outreach, nor are they trained in any kind of social work or trauma work. They want to offer safe places for everyone to come and participate, to provide space for neighborhood groups, such as NFB, to meet. They plan to work with other organizations, like NOPD to offer midnight basketball. Her main takeaway is that the kids have to want to come.

Allison Cormier, District “C” Liaison for the City’s Neighborhood Engagement Office . Here to help citizens feel more empowered. Call 311 for City issues, Trainings on City Process, Resource and Referrals. allison.cormier@nola.gov  (504)658-4966 (o) (504)248-9859 (c)

Questions were posed about hours for pools (all different, website) Stallings, 8am- 6pm weekdays, 9-4 Saturday, 2-6 Sunday.

Questions and supporting comments on the use of Mindfulness as an aspect of Trauma Reduction and Resiliency training. Many programs out there for children and teens, theoretically. CeaseFire [it’s one word] does have aspects of mindfulness, and is based in a Cognitive Behavioral platform.

The question was raised about how to support these organizations, and how to increase safety.

Mainly be a friendly neighbor, say hello, over and over again. They did not say this, but a group like CeaseFire would surely accept donations.

Meeting adjourned 8:2

Submitted by N. Thacker, co-secretary

 

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NFB Board Meeting 5/16/18

NFB Board Meeting – 5/16/18

Attending: Julie Jones, John Andrews, Stephen Haedicke,  Michael Owings, Brian Luckett, Tyler Harwood, Rhonda Findley (via phone), Susan Korec, Steve Jacobs, Anthony Eschmann, Mark Gonzalez, Nancy Thacker.

Called to order 7:10

Krewe of Red Beans founder Devin Dewulf shared history around Bean Madness – an event which follows Mardi Gras and is based on the brackets one plays in the March Madness for basketball, with restaurants competing for the best red beans and rice. This was its second year, and it raises money for two local charities which were chosen in the past by the Red Bean Membership. Both Tyler and Nancy are members of the Krewe.

Devin wants to expand the event this year by organizing two larger events for the final tastings, held in Bywater and Treme. They are being planned as a block parties with good music and food – along with the tastings – and the role of purveyor of liquids was offered to NFB as participants and supporters. Dauphine Street in front of the Art Lofts and Bywater Bakery is being considered as an ideal spot. Some question as to what the process might be to sell alcohol will be further explored by Mark. Devin will follow up with us in a month – however at this time all were in favor of participation.

Michael brought in copies of the list of items for Kristen Palmer that he had sent around for input. It was updated and reviewed in the meeting and all agreed to ongoing active modification. Getting on calendars and timing discussed. Topics included:

  • Limits on commercial STR’s, number permitted per block, and linking STR’s to homestead exemptions. Possibly linking this issue to the growing parking problem was also explored. It was noted that the parking regulations fought for in the Marigny are not necessarily working well.
  • Potential restrictions on conditional uses were also discussed, as it undermines zoning.
  • A need to prioritize what is happening with the Riverfront Overlay. A need to revisit this with the firm 50 foot limit with any change having to go through the full variance process.

The NSA redevelopment was then discussed. Brian will be meeting with K. Palmer and other community members tomorrow (5/17/18) on this issue and will fill us in. There is some turbulence with the current leaseholder and the city. Concerns about the pending cruise ship terminal will also be discussed. There is a need for some kind of structured process where neighbors and neighborhoods can participate in the decisions.

It was then discussed, and the history reviewed for the Iris project at 2930 Burgundy (800 block Montegut). Motion made and passed by all not to send a letter of support as they have requested, since we feel they have not adequately addressed the concerns of the neighbors. A letter explaining why there isn’t support currently will be written instead. Mark will pen this letter which will include some of the concerns noted, such as lack of green space, scale, and design.

A very close eye needs to be kept on the single shotgun at 826 Piety and the parking lot at 830 Piety St. The fence has been removed and replaced incorporating the entire two properties, and supplies are being off loaded. Is there a variance for a fence going over 7 feet? The owner is leasing the space to people who want to put up an open-air restaurant, serving alcohol. Process would be to watch the plans being filed for ARC then HDLC.

Sex Shop: Near neighbors, as well as some Bywater residents in general, are expressing concerns about this recent addition to the retail development of the community. It seems that there is live music in the form of a DJ every Thursday evening, and they are likely not zoned for live entertainment. It should be on the open discussion agenda for the next general meeting to gather neighbors specific concerns.

Topics for the next general meeting were then discussed. Someone who can speak about potential new STR regulations was considered. Crime on St. Claude has also been cause for concern. Inviting a representative from the KIPP Renaissance High School who could discuss how they are dealing with recent violence and their concerns around youth development was suggested, or another speaker to talk about violence/conflict resolution in the community. NOPD could present info on violence prevention and increasing the safety and sense of community. Julie will provide food.

Meeting adjourned at 8:27.

respectfully submitted: N Thacker

A PDF of these minutes can be downloaded here.

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NFB General Meeting 5/2/18

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

Respectfully submitted,

Tyler Harwood, co-secretary

A PDF of these minutes can be downloaded here.

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