By a vote of 7-1 Tuesday evening, the New Orleans City Planning Commission voted down a council request to create an interim zoning district that would have added a new layer of approval for the new stadium.
Neighbors saw the creation of the IZD as their best hope to have some say in the process. They have a long list of concerns that include traffic, noise, parking, and flooding.
Tulane University saw the proposed IZD as just another layer of red tape that could put in jeopardy the time line for construction and the collection of donations.
“We’re pleased by the outcome today,” Tulane president Scott Cowan said after leaving the council chambers Tuesday evening.
Neighbors say, without the IZD, Tulane will be able to build the stadium anyway it pleases. The current plan calls for walls as high as 48 feet to be build as close as 20 feet to some private property lines.
Cowan says Tulane is working with neighbors to make any possible adjustments for the 30,000 seat stadium. As an example, he says the 48 foot walls were originally going to be 55 feet.
Cowan says Tulane will continue to keep a dialogue going with neighbors who live around the footprint of the new stadium.
“Conversations are going to continue. We have two more forums coming up. One next week and then we have one in July.”
Many members of the City Planning Commission called the IZD an example of spot zoning. They say it sends a bad message to other businesses and organizations that might consider making big investments in the city.
At least one member of the business community also told the commission that a new stadium would pump money into the local economy and the city’s coffers.
Ground breaking could come early next year.