Ask City Council to JUST PRESS PAUSE!

Introducing The Neighbors First for Building Community Coalition! The Coalition has been formed in response to the efforts of HANO and the Texas developer ITEX to build a massive apartment complex that would have a negative impact on Bywater. The Faubourg Marigny Improvement Association, Louisiana Landmarks Association, and Parks For All have joined NFB in the Coalition so far. A web site is in development and events are being planned to mobilize neighbors. More updates will be coming very soon!

In the mean time: The next meeting regarding the proposed giant HANO / ITEX project planned for Bywater is a critical one. It is in front of the City Council, Thursday, May 23, at about 11 (we’ll get a more exact idea of the time this comes up as soon as we can and fill you in). Our message to the Council is JUST PRESS PAUSE. We want affordable housing, but we don’t want a rushed job that Bywater and the surrounding neighbors will live with for decades. Once the zoning is changed it cannot be unchanged. If it goes to HU-MU as is proposed, that will allow almost anything. Please make plans to come! A big turn-out will be very important here. Affordable housing groups that want the project to be built regardless of its shortfalls will certainly show up in force, and we have to show the Council that we welcome affordable housing, but we want to get it right. Below is more information on the proposal as well as email addresses for all the City Council members.

This is proposed as a mixed income development. 40% of the building would go for market-rate units. A one bedroom, 750 sq. ft. market-rate apartment would go for $1200 (some houses in Bywater twice that size are available for that price). And the zoning change would allow any un-leased units to convert into Short-Term Rentals.

The out-of-state developers—who need the market-rate units for their business model to work— are proposing about 80 units of affordable housing in this fortress. We’d like to return to the original RFP, which we have always supported: 56 units, all affordable, architecturally appropriate and open to the neighborhood. We’ve always supported a design that protects our beautiful indigenous trees—some a hundred years old—and maximum green space that also protects the watershed. The original plan may not work for this Texas developer but it sure does work for us.

But there’s more.

We support development that is sustainable, but there have been no studies of the impact on traffic, parking, electrical service, water, sewerage or storm water. None! There has been no Section 106 review, which is the federal impact study required for historic sites to receive public funding (this developer’s business model requires significant amounts of federal and state dollars). This flawed proposal is at the hub of immense disruptive changes to our neighborhood, including the 78-unit Arrive hotel next door (with only 27 parking spaces and three bars), a proposed cruise ship terminal directly across the street, the massive Navy facility (soon to be developed—in large part, the developer hopes, as affordable housing—just three blocks away), a 3-4 story, mixed use 30 room hotel/retail complex with rooftop bar on Chartres at Piety plus multiple potential development sites at play in between—all located between two active rail lines that stall traffic multiple times each day.

Here are the email addresses of the Council Members. Thank you.

Helena Moreno
Jason Williams
Joe Giarusso
Jay Banks 
Kristin Palmer
Jared Brossett
Cyndi Nguyen

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