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NEW ORLEANS -- The presidents of several local private universities -- Tulane, Loyola and Xavier -- are joining forces to oppose an interim zoning district that is being proposed by Councilwoman Susan Guidry, according to a official release from Tulane. The interim zoning district could heavily delay the construction of a football stadium on Tulane's campus, according to the release, which was scheduled to be completed by 2014.

'A coalition of presidents from Tulane, Loyola and Xavier universities believes the motion is an unnecessary, unfair and discriminatory reaction to complaints from a neighborhood organization that is really focused on Tulane's planned on-campus football stadium. The new stadium will be built entirely on the Tulane campus, not far from the site of the old Tulane Stadium, which was a treasured icon in New Orleans for 50 years. The new stadium complies with all zoning laws and does not require a variance,' said a statement from Tulane.

Guidry's motion which is on the May 3 City Council agenda amends the comprehensive zoning ordinance, and prohibits 'the construction or expansion to existing structures of any building or facility within college and university campuses that will result in a building or facility in excess of 250,000 square feet of gross floor area and will cover a footprint of more than 50,000 square feet within any residential zoning district,' according to the council agenda.

According to the Tulane statement, the zoning ordinance could negatively impact local universities as well as businesses and non-profit organizations.

The motion could delay large-scale construction projects at universities for extended periods of time, according to Tulane, and 'Once a motion for an IZD is passed, no building permits can be filed until the matter is heard by the City Planning Commission, is reported to the Council and acted on by the Council. Even though the draft motion sets forth a one year time period, it can be extended pursuant to the Home Rule Charter.'

'The proposed IZD basically tells our universities that they are being singled out to conform to restrictions not being applied to other entities in New Orleans. The motion does not represent progressive or sound public policy, and is inconsistent with the very principles and processes it purports to advance,' says Tulane President Scott Cowen.

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