Vieux Carré cigar bar hopes definition of ‘cigar bar’ works to their favor

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NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) - The New Orleans City Council passed a motion putting the City Planning Commission in charge of coming up with a definition of what a cigar bar actually is.

A favorable interpretation could save La Habana Hemingway, the Vieux Carré’s only cigar bar experiencing setbacks from the new smoking ban.

“This is a really important step for my client and for us moving forward, says attorney Christopher Kane representing Sergio Carrera who runs the cigar bar. “What the City Council did today was they allowed for us to be able to define what he`s doing as a potentially permissible conditional use."

Kane is optimistic the CPC will look to amend the VCC 2 zoning district, "We are going to be filing an application for our conditional use permit to be allowed to do what he's doing there."

The CPC will consider a new designation called a Tobacco Retail Business where tobacco products account for 70% of revenue.

“Our hope is that we move it through the City Planning Commission relatively quickly,” says Kane. “On terms of getting a definition of what a cigar bar is so we can then move forward and have this conditional use to be permitted."

As far as the smoking ban, Kane says the new law only delays La Habana Hemingway’s goal of remaining in compliance, “Things got pushed back cause there was concern how will the smoking ban ordinance impact these sorts of establishments."

The CPC will conduct a public hearing to gather input regarding the definition of a cigar bar.