Neighborhood planning rules to be decided on Saturday
A colleague sent the following announcement:
I am urging you to attend an important meeting this Saturday, beginning at 8:30am, related to the final structure of the group that will oversee the official city-wide and neighborhood planning process.
It is to be held at the offices of the Greater New Orleans Foundation (GNOF):
1055 St. Charles Avenue, Suite 100 (this is the K&B Building located on Lee Circle across the street from the "Circle Bar")
The phone number is: (504) 598-4663
As most of you know, the "planning process" is the means by which the City is to develop comprehensive rebuilding plans for infrastructure, public space and buildings, hazard mitigation, and large-scale housing ("buy-out" homes, abandoned and adjudicated property, etc.). These plans are then used to secure federal recovery funds allocated through LRA, other non-recovery federal grants, private investment, etc. In addition, the process should also be the means by which the city develops land use ordinances and other policies to implement recovery projects. For the above reasons, a unified process, with all branches of city government supporting and involved, is essential.
As you may also know, the beginnings of an official city-wide and neighborhood planning process has been taking shape for several weeks. The Rockefeller Foundation, in partnership with the Greater New Orleans Foundation, is funding and developing the framework for the planning process, through the efforts of Steven Bingler, LRA's Orleans Parish Planning Coordinator, as well as with input from other groups and, presumably, city officials.
The lead entity in this process is to be the "Community Support Organization" (CS)). It will oversee the work of planning to be done for city-wide infrastructure projects and neighborhood redevelopment plans for the 13 planning districts of the city.
ON SATURDAY, THE FINAL STRUCTURE OF THE COMMUNITY SUPPORT ORGANIZATION IS TO BE APPROVED by the "New Orleans Support Board," which was created through GNOF to develop the make-up of the Community Support Organization (CSO). The CSO is proposed to include:
(1) appointee from the Mayor's Office
(1) appointee from the City Council
(1) appointee from the City Planning Commission
(1) appointee from GNOF
(2-4) appointees on behalf of "city-wide non-governmental organizations currently working to support the neighborhood planning process"
(5) appointees "selected from nominations submitted by individual neighborhood organizations."
IT IS URGENT THAT YOU ATTEND THIS MEETING FOR THE FOLLOWING REASONS:
1) That you didn't know about this meeting or the development of the CSO suggests that, while it is a good faith effort in moving forward, there remains a serious breakdown in public communication.
2) It has yet to be decided what rules will apply to the CSO for the structure of public meetings, dissemination of information, public notice and comment, and formal decision making (timelines, mandates, etc.)
3) The Council and Mayor have not official approved of this unified process. It cannot take place without their official approval.
4) It has still not been decided how the planning currently being done under the City Council's contract with the "Lambert Group" will be incorporated into this unified process.
5) It has still not been decided how the numerous other non-profits, universities, and other groups, that are NOT APPOINTED TO THE CSO, will be able to formally advise this process and incorporate the volume of work that has already been done.
I am reaching out to you as respected, professional, and talented advocates who have been involved in this process. Your awareness of the process that is unfolding, and, more importantly, your informed involvement is critical to its success. Without you, and without a process that engenders the public's trust and full involvement, our recovery as a city will be seriously diminished from what it could be otherwise.