A victory on Tuesday for those backing a new Uptown Tulane stadium. New Orleans' City Planning Commission voted against a proposed zoning district that would made it hard for the university to move forward with the project. That vote doesn't sit with neighbors living near the site.
"To ignore the needs, to ignore the input and to build without responsible oversight just flies in the face of everything our leaders have said they wanted to see happen," said Uptown resident Winnie Brown. She lives along Audubon Drive where signs have popped up on front lawns calling for responsible development in the area. The Uptown neighborhood is where Tulane University wants to build a 30,000 seat, on-campus stadium. Neighbors worry about noise, crowds, parking, and litter. On Tuesday the City's Planning Commission got an earful.
"Imagine the noise, traffic and daily disruption caused by the usage of this stadium," said Shelley Kurtz addressing the CPC. Last month, the New Orleans City Council voted in favor of studying the creation of what's being called an Interim Zoning District or IZD. It would essentially prohibit new construction of a building by a university or college that is larger then 250,000 square feet and has a footprint larger than 50,000 square feet in designated Uptown residential areas.
On Tuesday, opponents of that IZD plan filled City Hall including university officials. Tulane has filed a lawsuit against the city.
"If this proposed IZD is created it will have a negative impact on the universities and colleges in the proposed district," said Tulane University President Scott Cowen.
After hearing from the public, the City's Planning Commission voted 7 to 1 to recommend, no zone change.
"I think its a positive thing. I welcome it. I remember the days of Tulane stadium, in fact Sugar Bowl Stadium," said Uptown resident George Demmas who lives next to Tulane and says the university has always been a good neighbor.
"I know a lot of people at Tulane and they've told me that everything that everybody is concerned about, the issues of parking, of bad elements coming in or whatever, that absolutely is not true," said Demmas.
As the university aims to break ground on the new stadium by early 2013, some neighbors continue to call for more public input -- especially when it comes to projects that will ultimately mean dramatic change.
"I'd like to see some public oversight where any entity that wants to build largely for so many people still has accountability to the tax payers and the people effected," added Brown.
The final say on that proposed interim zoning district is now in the hands of the New Orleans City Council. Mayor Mitch Landrieu opposes it and says if necessary he will veto it.