letter from Jeff Schwartz
You have until January 18, 2016 to send in your comments to [email protected] about the Taco Bell proposed at 223 North Broad.
Include the link to this post if you like… https://fsjna.org/2015/08/taco-bell-proposed-at-broad-and-bienville/
A proposal is being developed to put a drive-through Taco Bell on the corner of Broad and Bienville Streets, diagonally across from the ReFresh Project (with Whole Foods and Liberty’s Kitchen, among others). This is not in keeping with the new Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance or Master Plan, nor is it anything close to realizing the potential of this major Broad Street property.
The developer has already attempted to conduct a Neigbhorhood Participation Plan meeting with minimal notice in a very inconvenient location. We encourage everyone who thinks this property and our neighborhood would benefit from a better development proposal to voice their opinions to the City Planning Commission (email [email protected]) and to Councilmember Latoya Cantrell, in whose district this proposal resides, as well as Councilmembers Susan Guidry and Jared Brossett, whose districts are near this site. Their emails are:
LaToya Cantrell: [email protected]
Susan Guidry: [email protected]
Jared Brossett: [email protected]
More information can be found below, to help you prepare to contact the Planning Commission and Council members. This is a cornerstone of the future of Broad Street, and our hope is that, with your participation, we can ensure that the owners develop a high-quality project that contributes to the health and vibrancy of the communities along Broad Street.
Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions or comments!
The property at 219-223 N Broad Street, catercorner to the ReFresh Project at Broad and Bienville, is currently five vacant lots, covering 20,000 square feet in an HU-MU district. The site also is zoned with various overlays that provide for an urban, pedestrian-friendly design, encourages vibrant mixtures of land uses, and renders fast food, gas stations, and auto-oriented proposals conditional uses. Despite the fact that Broad Community Connections has worked over the last 15 months to encourage a high-quality use for the site, the current owners are now proposing a Taco Bell at the corner, which Broad Community Connections has serious concerns about from a land use, design, and community development perspective.
Below is Broad Community Connections‘ summary
The proposal is not in alignment with either the former CZO, under which they bought the property, or particularly the new CZO. We worked hard with many partner and community organizations to create opportunities to have small businesses, restaurants, music clubs, and quality design on Broad, as evidenced by not only the HU-MU base zoning, but the Arts and Culture and Enhancement Corridor overlays. From the design of the building, to the drive-through, to the siting of the building and parking, very little in the proposal complies with the letter or the spirit of the Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance.
More importantly, it is actively undermining the work that Broad Community Connections has been leading with its public and community partners to create a safer, more walkable and pedestrian-friendly corridor. Working with the City and the RPC, we have been gradually implementing a ‘road diet’ and bicycle lane from Gentilly Blvd. to Tulane Avenue. This section of Broad is undergoing a city-led streetscape improvement, and the Lafitte Greenway is a block and a half away. Just as the HU-MU zoning stipulates, we are looking to create a more mixed-use, urban corridor, and this proposal is instead moving in the opposite direction towards suburban, auto-oriented uses.
The proposal is not filling a need. There are already three fast food restaurants within one block of the proposed location–McDonald’s, Burger King, and Rally’s–as well as a Subway a few blocks away, and another McDonald’s at St. Bernard Avenue. There are also numerous other takeout and corner stores such as Eat Well, Broad and Banks Seafood, Orchid Seafood, Broadview Seafood, McHardy’s, and others, all within blocks of this site.
The communities along Broad Street suffer from some of the highest rates of chronic and diet-related diseases in the country, and some of the worst health disparities in the country. BCC, MCNO, Friends of Lafitte Greenway, and many other partners having been working tirelessly to create opportunities for community members to have healthier options, and this location would be ideal to take a first step towards that, but is instead taking a step backwards.
Taco Bell pays low wages and offers few opportunities for promotion and training. In addition, the proposed hours of the drive-through–4AM on weeknights and 5AM on weekends–present some safety and quality of life concerns in a community that still has issues with crime (there have been two murders within two blocks of this site in the last month).
More importantly, this site could be put to a much higher and better use! The owners could make more money, the city could grow its tax base, and the neighborhood could benefit from new commercial and residential spaces and amenities.
jeffrey schwartz | m.c.p.
executive director | broad community connections
Click here to view the letter concerning the meeting about the Taco Bell on Broad held December 14, 2015
At the August 4th, 2015 Faubourg St. John Neighborhood Association meeting, Jeff Schwartz of Broad Community Connections talked about the need for healthy food options along Broad.
Information below from Jeff Schwartz
The property diagonally across from the ReFresh Project— at Broad and Bienville, on the far/Lake side of the intersection–is currently five vacant lots, covering 20,000 square feet in a C-1A district with an Inner City Urban Corridor overlay that provides for design review and renders fast food and gas stations conditional uses. The current owner has proposed a Taco Bell at the site.
The proposed hours of operation are shown below.
Sunday through Thursday
Lobby: 7 am – 11 pm
Drive-up: 7 am – 4 am
Friday & Saturday
Lobby: 7 am – 11 pm
Drive-up: 7 am – 5 am
Future Land Use: This site is slated to become an AC/EC MU-1 district, with the intent of creating mixtures of uses with arts and cultural uses and pedestrian-friendly amenities.
View the proposed plans here.
Alicia Serrano of the Mid City Messenger attended Faubourg St. John’s August 4th, 2015 meeting and reported the following:
City Councilwoman Susan Guidry said she will begin studying ways for the city to make the growing Fourth of July festivities on Bayou St. John go more smoothly for attendees, and also announced that the City Council has formed a new committee on bicycle safety following the latest death of a bicyclist.
“We have now put together a Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Advisory Committee,” Council member Susan Guidry said at the Faubourg St. John Neighborhood Association meeting on Tuesday.
Guidry said that as serving on the Transportation Committee for City Council, she held a meeting about laws pertaining to the roads and bicyclists.
“I did an entire transportation committee meeting about a year ago on the rules of the roads, bicyclists and motorists and it was pretty thorough, we went through all the state laws, all the ordinances,” Guidry said.
According to Guidry the Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Advisory Committee will be compromised of members from organizations such as Bike Easy, an organization dedicated to bicycling and transportation access issues, and the Advocacy Center, focused on offering services to seniors and citizens with disabilities. Guidry also mentioned that members from the University of New Orleans will also be on the committee for collecting data.
“We thought about everyone that should be on that committee and we’re going to be looking at safety for bicycles, pedestrians, and of course motorists,” Guidry said.
Guidry said that the growth of bicycle lanes around the city has happened at a fast pace, but there are still areas that need improvement.
“Our bicycle lanes, the number of miles have grown so quickly, and yet there are places like the Broad Street overpass where it’s really not safe,” Guidry said.
“There are good bike lanes leading up to places that then poof. All of a sudden there’s nothing and so as fast as we are putting in bike lanes we have all these issues still.”
Gudiry said she thinks it is exciting that many people are biking around the city, but many still need to be educated on the biking rules as she mentioned that there are bikers who bike on the wrong side of the road.
Guidry urged both bikers and drivers to be aware of each other on the road.
“I just would ask that the people in their cars, start thinking in terms of, it’s not just about cars out there on the road, it’s not just cars and start being more careful,” Guidry said. “And then people on bicycles, not to think it’s okay just to shoot through red lights.”
“It’s your red light as well as motorists’ red light,” Guidry said.
The Bayou on the Fourth of July
Guidry also mentioned that she will be talking with city officials about Bayou St. John being a “destination spot” for the 4th of July and the Krewe of Kolososs boat parade.
“The Krewe of Kolossos, I know that there were a lot of people who enjoyed it, but also there were a lot of issues as a result of it,” Guidry said.
Guidry said that many people have picnicked along the Bayou this year and in previous years while waiting to see the parade in the evening.
“That is something that the Krewe doesn’t feel like they can be responsible for and understandably, it is just a general public coming out,” she said.
Guidry said that she is meeting with city officials next week to discuss plans to make the area a better spot for the festivities.
“I don’t think there is any going back from there, you can’t shoo people off and do what you want to and we need to determine how we’re going to deal with it because there needs to be port-a-lets out there and there needs to be sanitation and pick up,” Guidry said.
“I am bringing that to the administration’s attention so that we can work on it and determine how we are going to deal with it in the future.”
Guidry also announced that the Historic District Landmarks Commission and the Human Relations Commission will hold two public meetings this month to discuss the removal of the four Confederate statues (Robert E. Lee statue, Jefferson Davis statue, PGT Beauregard Equestrian statue and the Battle of Liberty Place Monument Confederate statue).
According to Guidry the HDLC meeting will take place at 1 p.m. and the Human Relations Commission meeting will take place at 6 p.m. on August 13th in the City Council Chambers.
Once the meetings take place, each organization will make a recommendation to the Council and then the Council will made a final decision.
“I really think that it was meant to be a conversation to lead to reconciliation,” Guidry said.
“I think that it was kind of dropped on everybody in a way that made everyone scatter to one corner or another and I think that is unfortunate because I do think it’s a conversation that could bring us all closer to understanding each other.”
Draft Agenda for the Faubourg St. John Neighborhood Association Meeting
Tuesday, September 1st at 7 p.m.
Fair Grounds Black Gold room
I. Call to Order
II. Roll Call
III. Explanation of Meeting Rules
IV. Guests/Topics (order subject to change)
• Quality of Life update – Officer Lavigne
• Fairgrounds Patrol update – Capt. Scott
V. Committee Reports/Updates/Actions (if any)
• Landscape Committee
• Membership Committee – Update
• Events Committee – Update
• Rebridge – Update
• Treasurer’s Report
• Public Safety – Update
• Zoning Committee – Update
VI. Old Business — Approval of minutes from August 4th meeting
VIII. New Business