Policy to Block All Relocation of New Orleans City Hall Gets Council Approval | Local politics



New Orleans mayors will need to get city council approval to move City Hall to the municipal auditorium or anywhere else under a new zoning policy that has received preliminary approval from officials. board members Thursday.

The vote, which was unanimous, comes as opponents of Mayor LaToya Cantrell’s plan to convert the Municipal Auditorium into the new seat of municipal government called on the administration to immediately start repairing the building to prevent it from collapsing. deteriorates further.

With Mayor LaToya Cantrell’s proposal to move City Hall to the near-dead municipal auditorium, the city now faces the question of whether or not …

The council’s decision presents another hurdle for Cantrell’s town hall plan, which could cost more than $ 100 million. And it also threatens to make Cantrell the latest in a line of mayors who have tried and failed to abandon the obsolete and troubled house on Perdido Street.

Cantrell had been discussing the move since at least 2018. The initial proposal would see the city use a combination of FEMA money dedicated to the restoration of the building and money the city could get from the existing town hall site for build a complex in Armstrong Park, potentially including government office buildings and a large garage nearby.

As these plans met with growing opposition from the community, the administration scaled back its vision. First, officials said they would consolidate all of the city’s functions within the existing boundaries of the municipal auditorium by making up to two-thirds of the city’s employees work from home. Then the mayor proposed to suspend all proposals until after the fall elections, when she is running for another term and handed over the responsibility of proposing alternatives to defenders.

Despite the administration’s efforts to reassure residents, neighbors close to the Tremé Municipal Auditorium argued that the proposals would amount to the destruction of Louis Armstrong Park and Congo Square.

The council vote on Thursday sets in motion a series of legal steps. The proposal is now forwarded to the Planning Commission, which will begin a process to amend the city’s comprehensive zoning ordinance. Then, the new zoning plans will be sent back to city council for final approval.

Once done, moving the seat of municipal government to any property in the city would require a conditional use permit. Obtaining such a permit requires a long process that includes community meetings and, ultimately, approval from city council.

“We cannot move forward on something this big unless we move forward together,” said Board member Helena Moreno, who proposed the change with Interim Board member Donna Glapion.

Simply implementing the change that was brought forward on Thursday requires a multi-month process to change the zoning rules. And with that comes a measure unanimously passed by council last month, at the behest of council member Kristin Gisleson Palmer, that will prevent the administration from converting the municipal auditorium into a city hall for the ‘next year.

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The Cantrell administration declined to comment on the board’s decisions on Thursday. He previously said the measures would raise questions about whether $ 38 million in FEMA money set aside for the municipal auditorium could be used to repair the building.

And until a permanent plan is in place, the administration said the building “will remain insecure.” It has been stranded in disrepair since Hurricane Katrina.

Members of the Save our Soul coalition, a group that opposed the town hall plan, said it was unacceptable that the city did not take action now to at least start repairing the building in preparation for it. a larger renovation.

“It is time for the city of New Orleans to stabilize this building and not allow it to be negligently demolished,” said Dow Group member Michael Edwards.

New Orleans City Council approves temporary ban on transfer from City Hall to City Auditorium

Striking a direct blow to Mayor LaToya Cantrell’s plans to move City Hall to the municipal auditorium, City Council halted all attempts to …

Coalition members conducted surveys and organized a longer-term plan for the building, with the general idea of ​​reusing it as a cultural site, such as a performance hall or museum.

This left opponents of the plan claiming victory on Thursday as they continued to press for resources and proposals from the city for these improvements.

“They listened to us, they heard us, but now is the time to put it into action,” said Cheryl Austin, of the Greater Tremé Consortium.

LaToya Cantrell drops plan to move City Hall to municipal auditorium

Council member Palmer lobbies for measures to prevent relocation from city hall to municipal auditorium

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