NFB Special Board Meeting – 6/29/2022

Present: Julie Jones, Brian Luckett, John Andrews, Anthony Eschmann, Joe Brown, Molly Henderson, Tyler Harwood, Susan Korec

The meeting was held via Zoom and started at 7:09 p.m.

Brian asked if any trees have been planted on Montegut St as the developers of the new apartment building promised. Tyler reported they had not, but that they are apparently waiting for the city to come put in curbs and will plant trees after (and if) that work is done.

Rhonda has ideas for fun activities NFB could sponsor. These events may be a good way to drum up more interest in the organization and diversify our membership. A wildlife rescue as a guest is proposed for some time in the fall. “Chicken Shit Bingo” was also proposed (laughter ensued). An art show at Luna Libre is applying for a grant, and NFB could be the non-profit “fiduciary agent”. Julie moved to approve the sponsorship. Joe seconded, and the motion was approved unanimously.

Brian then gave us a brief update on the controversial Outdoor Live Entertainment ordinance. The CPC has come up with a draft of a new sound ordinance (one already existed, but was never enforced) so there may be more clarity as to how the new rules would apply.

We then discussed a proposed text amendment to the CZO (zoning docket 051/22) that would allow cultural facilities in specific zoning districts to have live entertainment as a primary use, rather than as a secondary use as it is now. This would allow cultural facilities to have live entertainment without requiring a bar or restaurant as the primary use. The CPC apparently recommended Devin ask for the text amendment in the case Beanlandia is unable to get the conditional use for a bar.

Brian shared a chart in the CZO explaining what is currently allowed for Cultural Facilities. HMC-1 is for “restricted retail stores and service establishments” and can have cultural facilities. In HMC-1 a bar requires conditional use but they cannot have live entertainment. HMC-2 is for “more intensive commercial uses” and can also have cultural facilities. In HMC-2 a bar requires Conditional Use, and live entertainment would then be a secondary use (but only one permitted per block face). HM-MU (Beanlandia’s zoning) is “a mixed-use environment of light industrial, commercial, and residential” and a cultural facility is a permitted use. A bar requires conditional use and live entertainment would be a secondary use. Cultural facilities can be allowed in historic core residential zoning (permitted use in HMR-3, requires conditional use in all other residential zoning), but are not eligible to have a bar or live entertainment, so the new text amendment would not apply to those zonings.

The Garden District Neighborhood Association came out against the text amendment and it is likely others will as well. Brian feels that in our neighborhood the change would only affect properties that are usually appropriate for such use, so it may actually be a good change. Cultural facilities that have live entertainment without having alcohol would be more conducive to events for children. However, cultural facilities should be required to play by the same rules as other live entertainment venues in regards to sound levels ect… so the rules need to be specific. Brian will ask if Devin (the Beanlandia founder) would be willing to work with us to ask for the proposal to be modified. 

Brian spoke to Devin a few days ago to see if he would support a potential proviso limiting the occupancy of Beanlandia that would be attached to the parking waiver. Devin said he can’t because the occupancy limit is established by the Fire Marshall, and the Fire Marshall is unable to establish the occupancy limit until the zoning changes are finalized. There is no way to set a number for the proviso- it’s a “Catch-22”! Tyler wondered if it could be a percentage instead.

We all agreed it would be wonderful if NFB could find ways to advocate for near neighbors and also help Beanlandia succeed, but it is too complicated to do at this point. We agreed once again that the best way forward is to let the conditional use process do its job, and then we can help with provisos or compromises in the future if necessary.

The July 12 deadline mentioned in emails to the board earlier was a mistake – Beanlandia’s proposals will come up July 26. We have time to get more information and observe how things proceed. Devin is speaking with someone from the CPC Thursday so we can ask him for more details after that as well. 

Molly asked to discuss the Outdoor Live Entertainment (OLE) letter writing campaign again. She asked if we still have the same concerns now that a draft sound ordinance has been produced. The proposed increase in the number of allowed events is still problematic. If we are going to ask members to write letters we need to be specific with what we ask them to focus on. We could use more information, and allies in the Riverfront Alliance could be a good source. Brian reiterated that there needs to be a way to monitor the sound. The Sound Ordinance also says it would be enforced by health dept, which probably would not work. The police don’t have the resources, so it should be enforced by the new “night mayor”. 

Julie then asked about plans for the August general meeting since we agreed to skip the July one. It would be good to have an update from the NOPD, as well as an update on any NSA progress. (We sent out a lot of letters and didn’t get responses from anybody but Capt Nolan) We have little reason to believe the the site will be cleared as promised, and need to keep up the pressure.

The meeting ended at 8:00 p.m.

Submitted by Tyler Harwood, NFB Secretary

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