CPC—Subdivision regulations update TBD

Overview

The City Planning Commission will consider the June 8th draft revision of the City’s Subdivision Regulations on [a date TBD in 2022].

Written public comment may be submitted at any time to CPCinfo@nola.gov. (Ask for a receipt, as emails often go into spam.)

Below are documents and guest commentary on this important issue.

Documents

City of New Orleans Subdivision Regulations of 1999
Draft of revised Subdivision Regulations approved by the CPC on June 8, 2021

Memos from Bob Rivers to the CPC:
Synopsis of the Subdivision Regulations Update, May 26, 2021
Supplement to committee-approved Subdivision Regulations draft, June 1, 2021
Staff recommendation for revisions to the Subdivision Regulations draft, July 7, 2021

Commentary

Town of Carrollton Watch is reprinting a recent statement on the subdivision issue by Jeffrey Seymour of the Faubourg Marigny Improvement Association land use committee. We hope it will help neighbors to formulate their own public comments for the CPC.

The following comments are based upon our review thus far of the proposed Draft Subdivision Regulations.  On at least three occasions, beginning as far back as July 13th, we have submitted questions to the Executive Director on these and other related topics. To date, we have received no responses to any of our inquiries.  Additionally, the Executive Director offered on July 21st to meet with us to discuss the regulations.  Since that date we have been endeavoring on a regular basis to get the Executive Director to commit to a date for such a meeting, but as of today, August 10th, he still has not provided any.  We are very concerned that the “clock is running out” on the time allotted to us for our review of the regulations since written comments for the 8/24/21 CPC meeting are due on August 16th, and we have yet to receive any responses to any of our questions or our request for a meeting time.  [Note: the matter has been postponed until a date TBA in 2022.—SJ]

One of our major concerns with the proposed draft subdivision regulations (Draft Regulations) is the significant degree of additional authority and autonomy they would give to the CPC’s Executive Director.  Among other things, the Draft Regulations contain the following provisions:

  1. Eliminate the Commission’s role in interpreting the Subdivision Regulations. Instead, the Executive Director would be the only party authorized to interpret the regulations.
  2. Eliminate the Commission’s ability to hold a public hearing on any subdivision it deems to be in the public interest.
  3. Eliminate the Commission’s authority and role in “ratifying” any subdivision application, and limit the Commission’s ratification to only applying to whether the Executive Director used the proper approval category in approving the subdivision, and not applying to the Executive Director’s actual approval of the application.
  4. The draft regulations go so far as to explicitly state that “administrative approvals granted by the Executive Director may not be appealed.”  If implemented, this would represent the only example that we are aware of a decision or action of the City Council, CPC, BZA, or Department of Safety & Permits, that would be completely immune from appeal of any type.  
  5. Eliminate penalties and fines for selling unapproved or unrecorded subdivisions, and eliminate enforcement of the subdivision regulations as the “duty” of the Executive Director.  
  6. Eliminate City’s authority to enjoin any sales associated with unapproved or unrecorded subdivisions
  7. Eliminate the requirement that hearing notices be sent to the relevant neighborhood association
  8. Eliminate the requirements that hearing notices must be given over a period of two weeks. 
  9. The current procedure is that all subdivision requests are forwarded to the appropriate city/state/federal agencies for their review, comments, and approval.  Under the proposed regulations, the Executive Director would have final jurisdiction to determine the eligibility and relevance of any agency comments.  
  10. Under the proposed regulations, the Executive Director would have the ability to waive any or all survey information requirements.

Based on our reading of the current and Draft Regulations, almost every single change that the Draft Regulations propose will result in less transparency and less oversight of the subdivision approval process.  

To pick just a recent example, had the proposed new rules been in place, we would not have been able to even challenge, much less effectively de-rail, the controversial 621 Elysian Fields Hotel Complex subdivision request of 2020. [Note: in September 2021 a revised subdivision plan was approved by the CPC.—SJ]

8/10/21
Jeffrey Seymour
Faubourg Marigny Improvement Association

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