New Orleans City Councilwoman Nadine Ramsey has decided to defer a proposed amendment to the city’s new comprehensive zoning ordinance to work on restrictions that could ease the concerns of Algiers Point residents who worry rezoning the green space along the Mississippi River for “maritime industrial” use will lead to unwanted development.
Ramsey told residents at a public meeting Tuesday night that rezoning the batture between Bermuda and Whitney avenues is the right thing to do because it would correct a mistake.
The land, which for decades has been used by nearby residents for recreation, was zoned “neighborhood open space” in the new zoning law because planners overlooked the fact that it actually was designated “marine industrial” in the city’s master plan, according to the Port of New Orleans, which owns the land and requested the change.
Ramsey told sign-toting residents Tuesday that she doesn’t want to see inappropriate development along the riverfront, either, but that the decision to designate it for industrial use was made before she took office and that the CZO should be consistent with the master plan.
In an email to the Algiers Point Association on Thursday, Ramsey’s office said the item will be deferred and sent back to the City Planning Commission for further community input and to “draft restrictions that will limit the use and height of any developments that may occur.”
The email also noted that the master plan will be revisited in 2016, which would give the City Council a chance to review the 2010 decision to designate the batture for industrial development.
“Once the master plan designation is changed, more suitable zoning options may be available,” wrote Ramsey’s chief of staff, Kara Johnson.
Residents upset at the proposed change said maritime industrial zoning could allow for tall buildings, including hotels, that they said would be out of scale with nearby residential development and would hurt property values.
The Algiers Point Association issued a statement praising the decision to send the decision back to the Planning Commission, but it added that it plans to “stay on top of this to make sure the zoning is appropriate for the area’s historic recreational use and respectful of the historic neighborhood (it) adjoins.”
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