Sunday, September 25, 2011

Incoherence Preserved

Jeffrey puts together a rather progress-resistant issue that confounds New Orleans' development.

The whole argument is yet another example of preservationist incoherence. Nine times out of ten these arguments are really about different groups of well to do property owners arguing over who gets what set of rights and privileges with the appeal to "preservation" being merely a tool of convenience for whichever side isn't proposing the specific development in question. Rarely, though, is any of this ever about mere aesthetics.

For those of you following the telenovela that is replacing derelict structures in NOLA, this particular episode includes:

1. Incoherent, reality-defying zoning laws. Because if there is any place to put new, multi-story, high density mixed use development, it is on Canal Street downtown.
2. An empty building that no one wants to purchase and restore as-is.
3. A city council ready to change zoning ordinances whenever.
4. Rendering zoning laws meaningless so long as you have the right political connections.
5. "Preservation" groups demanding that undesirable properties remain undesirable.
6. Until "someone" can come up with a better plan.
7. When zoning laws would be rendered meaningless because of other people's political connections.

Isn't feudalism fun?



jeffrey said...

What really caught my attention was this.

Proponents noted that the City Planning Commission staff concluded that the proposal was not in direct conflict with the master plan, which did not include specific height limits. Although the plan suggests that "highest density" development should take place along Poydras Street and Loyola Avenue, not on Canal Street, the planning staff said the project "would meet the goal and range of uses" of the "downtown mixed use" designation the plan lists for the site.

All this complaining about the violation of the Master Plan when the plan itself doesn't really even do anything to prohibit the development they're arguing against. Just wacky.

Cousin Pat from Georgia said...

Exactly. What is the use of a master plan with the "rule of law" if it doesn't have actual requirements?

At that point, it just becomes a political shell-game excuse. If the powers that be don't like something, it will "violate the Master Plan" and vice versa.