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Tania Dall / Eyewitness News
Email: tdall@wwltv.com | Twitter: @taniadall

NEW ORLEANS -- Central City and the Garden District were the focus of a meeting on Monday night updating residents on a draft of the city's new Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance (CZO).

It's the city's way of trying to revamp what many call an outdated system, and some residents are voicing their concerns.

'21 years ago, I was planting flowers on Dryades Street,' Jeanette Bell said.

Bell is still doing that in her Central City neighborhood. She lovingly tends to roses and herbs in a garden that was planted in what use to be a blighted lot.

As New Orleans looks to create a new CZO, Bell wants to see more historic district designations in the plan.

'What I'm really wanting is to save the historic properties that we have left, since we've lost so many,' said Bell.

She joined a few dozen people inside the Dryades YMCA on Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard on Monday night. The community meeting is the eighth in a series of 10 being hosted this month citywide.

Housing and community development; parking; urban design; storm water management; alcohol beverage outlet and live entertainment regulations are just some of the issued being tackled in the 500-page proposed zoning ordinance.

'Previously we had a 1970s, one-size fits all that applied all across the city. We really have an ordinance now that is place based that's based on the different areas areas of the city,' said New Orleans City Planning Deputy Director Leslie Alley.

The city says public input is being factored into the drafting process.

'We're trying to present this information to folks based on what we heard from them at the last series of meetings that we did in 2011,' said Alley.

The city is receiving feedback from residents like David Bordelon, who worries his neighborhood could see more commercial development if current zoning proposals are adopted.

'The Irish Channel is an old neighborhood developed way before automobiles. It's congested as it is. We don't need that retail,' Bordelon said. 'For the first time in 30 years we're really seeing property values rebound in the Channel.'

The next community meeting on the draft CZO is Wednesday, October 16. It's being hosted at KIPP New Orleans Leadership Academy, 2300 Saint Claude Avenue. The meeting will focus on the Bywater, 8th Ward and Upper 9th Ward.

On Thursday, October 17 a final meeting will be held at the Treme Recreation Center, 900 North Villere Street focusing on Mid-City and Treme. Both meetings will run from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

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