WWL>Topics>>4-2-14 1:10pm Angela: on the Lower 9th Ward

4-2-14 1:10pm Angela: on the Lower 9th Ward

Apr 2, 2014|

Angela talks about the best way to develop the Lower 9th Ward with members of the Holy Cross Neighborhood Association: Sarah Debacher, Calvin Alexander, and Wanda Baily.

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Automatically Generated Transcript (may not be 100% accurate)

That's so nice to be back in the saddle again took a day off yesterday Phillip had been off six months. But no it's good to be back in -- and literally walking and I thought now I feel the spring in its year. I think we have three very interest in shows. Ahead in the next three hours are first being. So my all time favorites have been getting to know our neighborhoods and -- are going to be talking. A terrific neighborhood with three people who are heavily invested emotionally in with and with their hearts in their neighborhood and we're gonna learn about. The holy cross neighborhood. Our second hour is going to be very timely as hopefully if you haven't gotten your -- stuff then it's too soon. But it is also the time when some of the worst thievery ever happens I did not -- didn't know that the two times where. People are being ripped off the most is Christmas. And tax return time. And our third hour both for the men and the women not to be missed we're gonna have me. Very well known plastic surgeon and a dermatologist on and we're gonna be talking male maintenance. It isn't just girls who have been the Botox the face slips the works its men now and we're gonna talk about. Men having done what difference it makes with them how this whole things started so I think you'll enjoy these two people very much but. Perfect way to start our day getting to know another area neighborhood. In our from the pork segment today we mean neighbors from the holy cross area of the Ninth Ward. Now as you know it's been in the news of -- because there's a major proposal to redevelop the old holy cross high school campus. So we have a lot to talk about. With -- to blocker. Ask your doctor walker president of the holy cross neighborhood association. -- Alexander also with the holy cross association. And -- -- a long time resident of the holy cross neighborhood and let me tell you see on your faces. You're you're like other people we've had in that you love where you live. Say and that makes such a different. On -- a little bit closer now let's go ahead normally we talk about what your life was like before Katrina and what's happened in your neighborhood to. Let's not do that let's talk about what you're facing right now which is an enormous and and not controversial issue. That. In other words the magnificent campus of holy cross. Has been sold or -- in the process of being sold. It's in the process of being -- -- APC. Has a purchase agreement. With the holy cross the Holy Cross College becomes the Brothers. Who of course now have their campuses in gentle yet so this is a large track. Yes the site that there I'm contract to devise approximately thirteen acres flew over there in makers around and the total acreage at the former site is sixteen acres by Baptist ministries has. Purchase a portion of that site. Closest to saint Claude -- today have. A wonderful clinic that's been that they just open the serving in the neighborhood that's wonderful OK so that they want to take -- and the building. They would use. The main building. Yes that -- plans proposed that the former administration building which is the only building that still remains from the former holy cross school campus. Be used for their own offices and also for the offices. Of another business. And then their proposed saying 284. Apartment units. Including 27 story 75 foot plus towers. Along the river. And a number of other structures which we I'm fine to be a pets hulking in their -- saying. Behind the former administration -- so again 284 apartment units approximately 500 parking spaces. On a site that formerly house school and really was part of our community. So knowing you have had public meetings with them meaning it -- proposals. And have they not lowered that 75 foot. Proposal. Initially when they came before the neighbor had there at the height was thirteen stories. But I'll say that you know we saw that is kind of a developers strategy you know at that they come out and play fair. How restaurant at this -- distraught they're strongest cards or and and so they -- -- -- high -- -- sort -- telling -- depending on how you wanna look at it. I'm and then neighborhood the community was really aghast. As a result of that first meeting they did lower the height initially to 85 feet and then to 75 feet. However we are national historic district and have been for the past twenty years. And there was still widespread and really consistent opposition to that height. So around June of last year counseling grey he's our representative. Along with currency PC and the holy cross Brothers. Agreed to. Delay the process so that the community can partner with the two -- city center on coming up with some community driven plans that would satisfy. The community. When we completed that work in December we approached the developer. Were unable to meet with them. And since that time in fact prior to our completing the work they held a meeting which was part of the neighbor participation. Plan. Which is part of the news new draft easier than master plan. And at that meeting they presented the exact same plans that they had presented prior to -- beginning this community -- process at 75 vote yes so it has been 75 feet. For almost a year in spite of the fact that we have consistently. Voiced opposition to that. We see it really aggressive. I wouldn't change. So into his sentence stories it's okay. Let me talk to luck Calvin and Sarah you you did that thing with two line and came up with three proposals. Yes three proposals came out of that multi week multi meeting. Effort. And basically. What we want the public to understand and particularly the council to understand. Is that. These proposals. One came out. A study whereby. Community based. Input and community based development. Working in most cases with a nonprofit. Developers. Offered some additional option and options put that same campus. Without the intrusive -- into the neighborhood. The current zoning RD three calls for maximal forty feet right. The east out of the campus along -- street would be facing. How does that -- directly across the street on a very narrow street. In -- average height went into one about the night. Can you imagine looking at your front window and sent it out for billing directly across street. And consequently what happens is. These thoughts of development -- normally I zoning requirements supposed to be on. Wide main thoroughfares not narrow and I'm talking about from 22. That 26 feet wide street back in the neighborhood. When new comment and before them before you. What was their response when you say think about that just what you just said you're living across the street from the semi five put them. Well you have to understand there are certain. Setback requirements in other words the building cannot sit. Right up to the street it has existed back generally. Is height from the property line. So of these would typically need to step back about sending about the problems against what. A -- -- foot building does not disappear because Houston bank saying about the history. You know I've got to ask and again I've not seen the plant's current I'm thinking about what a listener might be thinking. It got thirteen acres. What do you do in their street anyway. Why don't they drive you know you've got thirteen -- that's a lot of property you're gonna put a building even four or five stories -- Put it -- her brother than facing. The neighborhood it. Has its own. Feel well. Truth be told two of the towers are actually. Right I mean they are adjacent to houses and that's important historic presidential you know one and one story houses but they are riverfront. And we actually believe that this is part of larger. Argument that's taking shape about increasing height and density. Along the riverfront itself. We know that. From in recent meeting with city planning commission staff. That city planning commission staff. Has said that in spite of widespread opposition to what we see as a really aggressive commercials zoning with excess of height being at the heart the historic car. Our residential -- rights community being problematic. They said. You know we are not going to change the draft -- CO based on those comments because this is part of they. Larger issue that needs to play itself out. They mentioned specifically. By water and -- -- so we know that this is being connected to your other riverfront neighbors and you know the way I feel about it personally and I don't know Calvin if you of that quote from John d'antoni I think that's underwriting approach me -- really well aren't you read that because I think that that really speaks to this issue about. You know yes there -- thirteen acres but they're really putting a lot of amassing and density right at the riverfront. Because there is an argument that we need to be. Increasing density and -- on the riverfront. But we contend that that dishonor our historic past can you read that sure. And and. In full disclosure than not I am on the peace deal to that historic district -- -- commission. -- saying holy cross neighborhood alone make that clear we have already made aren't -- decision on this particular development. But I did want to make certain that everyone understood that -- that fictional I am what I do. John d'antoni who who lives in and represent them marry any neighborhood. With the -- IOC had this Thursday. Is that he feared that approving tall buildings along the Mississippi River. What opened the door for other developers to propose similar -- riverfront buildings and there and other neighborhoods. Quoting him he says I think the first highrise on the river front is going to be very tough. That twentieth through the thirtieth will probably fairly easy. A and then what will we have is a wall well developed well designed high rises on the riverfront. Giving truly jaw dropping and spectacular views to the people fought enough. To live in all departments. But I don't think that is the new loans that everyone wants and that's a direct quote from John. The Mary. Stay with us everyone this is a fascinating conversation and it's affecting a lot of people's lives. If you have any thoughts would love to hear from you as well but stay with this financial on data that you -- we are back talking to three members of the holy cross neighborhood. About the somewhat controversial. Project that's being proposed. That would re do the holy cross on campus. And and you all are fighting fighting tooth and nail because it does not fit in as you say with the history of that neighborhood. And it's -- it's going to be easy but they're posting 75 foot towers with apartments overlooking the river and it should be very lovely but it if you're thinking not fitting. And what are some alternatives. So you go to -- and you do three proposals. So what's happened to the three proposals. Those three proposals have attracted. The interest of more than one community minded developer. Who both of whom believe that they can work with the community. One of those developers has actually made an offer to directly to Peres to partner with -- so not. You know scapegoating browser are pushing for -- out but rather working with Torres because this developer knows how to do community development. And fortunately. Peres has not responded to that offer. And again were left with an in fact I think more problematic -- Perez's maligning. The two -- city center plans I'm calling them. Nothing but apart. Recently Angela claimed that the residences that we are proposing would cost each of them would cost millions of dollars. Which we know is not true they are for profit developer and our plans would caught call for war and require. Creative. Financing. That but that is possible. Through partnership which is a nonprofit developer that's something that we really want people to understand that our plans were vetted by experts at the two -- city center. They would not have had us go through this community process. To emerge with something that would not work. We just really want progress to listen to. But the first proposal was it would be a part the second proposal -- 27 independent homes. And park. And the -- one where there would be apartments and independent yes. But include again without a zoning change I. The construction would honor the character of the surrounding community. That's important -- I'm gonna take this caller we can. Because we're gonna have to go to new -- -- -- and we have a lot to talk about the Natalie from -- your thoughts. Hello Natalie. Natalie was there. That she's not there hopes she calls back and let let's go back so the issue is now before the City Council. Is that where it is it's before the City Council yes that is correct again. Actually. The process was such that a portion of it was handled. By the city planning commission. -- planning commission had their meeting took the offers basically from looking at what -- want to do and am looking at what CPC's staffed with offering them. One of the things that came out of that staff. Of the development was one this staff felt that. If that was going to be an increase in height of the buildings including the once nearest the river maximum of sixty feet should be what -- be willing to do. Once debt. Was read. In the open meeting Peres representative came back to the -- instead we want the entire 75 feet. So that is where we are and that is basically the way that Peres has dealt with the neighborhood as well. We have been trying to work on opposite an opportunity for a community benefits agreement. So that we have some sort of control of how the development -- would move forward. And so far we have not been able to get a willing partner and Perez to come forward and help us to develop reasonable. Community benefits agreement so now. April 10 this comes before City Council and we really do need all. Our hands on deck we need everybody to reach out the City Council person and two support us to make the point is that it's really important that we not had a president Ford changing altering really what could be. You know I -- USA's -- bit of. I had I was just thinking about we sit and we really need to get all of the historic districts on board because. If this goals from residential to a commercial area it is going to be unprecedented. It's. In every. Historic district in a city of new ones -- becomes that ring because. We can't limit once we give them okay you -- Both for residents of a commercial. Which by charter are buying it by law it's illegal. To put. This type of project in our area because. Commercial districts have to be located all on a follow fair -- majors. -- fair. There's no major thoroughfare in that area that is truly residential. And we need to really come together and work on his -- seemed like. Enormous challenges. To change a law and it is but if it could have fears. That. If -- a major. Contributor. The people's political -- campaigns. You can because -- feel like our our representative does not listening to us. And he sees he's going to push it through and Cheney's opened his years with the people as councilman councilman green absolutely. I hate that we have to take a break but we do have news going on album we're gonna come back we're gonna continue this -- Very important discussion about. About historic districts about neighborhoods and about people with a lot of passion to stay with us let's go to the newsroom now and Chris Miller. We are joined by Sarah did blocker and Calvin Alexander and -- -- all of the holy cross neighborhood association. Who are are really working very hard to stop. A project that has been proposed. To redevelop the holy cross campus. And again. And simplifying things Specter just saying it's out of whack with the neighborhood absent family and it's a historic neighborhood. And so you have problems you've come up with alternatives you sort of hitting a wall. Now it's gonna go for the city council on April 10 yes we're gonna take this caller and then I have some of the questions for you Brad uptown. -- Kate thank you in. In other important topics. You know this is kind of a terrible precedent which I hope the city council's gonna recognize. Because you know we have -- oppose the master plan with the force of law. And I do you know you know other neighborhoods and fortunately head. Terrible things happen to -- I mean lower its city was wiped off the -- For the -- if you VA project. And we fought it and the council at the time promise. There it afterward told me public facing development. Would be listened to. And that the master plan before the law would guide the decision. I want to ask begin -- they think about that and also. Maybe that council they need to remind the new council members inspection did too. New ones that were elected. Of this issue. I can speak to that. I've participated in the master planning process and I can tell you that you know when it comes to our. The fight we're facing and that zone change that were faced with. We never ever ever were educated about the deet tails. Of quiet. Some of these some of the language that was of the master plan meant you know mixed use medium density it sounds great and but there was never any education about. What that meant specifically and when I say specifically I'm referring to height height was never a conversation and now all of a sudden. You know CPC we think is proposing something in the -- -- that's absolutely inconsistent with the master plan. The placement of this intense development again in the middle of a residential neighborhood which I hear you Brad saying is something happened with the VA. In mid city. Again is not consistent with the master plan so if we whip through that process it needs to be honored and we think that this plan does not -- that process. I liked and also -- Bret thank you for calling. My position is. Right now the new master plan as it's proposed is just that it's a proposal is and correct in this and and we -- having a situation where votes are being made. Plans are being made based on draft situations. And this is gonna be possibly push through at the council goes -- with that. Whereas the current zoning is way out of out of bounds for what they're trying to do. -- -- want to encourage you to call your council person. And just ask him or her. Would you please go to the holy cross campus walked the grounds thieves and narrow streets. Seemed -- heat and that I Hannon former. City official visit me yesterday at the -- across campus site and I asked him that turned downright -- which is the main one way single lane street it comes into the development is at all you mean that. Roller coaster as -- yet has stolen. As -- -- you -- -- five miles tell you what are your car thank you for calling for a. Now again thank you very very much and anybody else's thoughts on this gives a call 260187. I'm gonna play devil's advocate we keep hearing about the Ninth Ward we know this holy cross neighborhood is only part of the Lower Ninth Ward. That they -- that is their whole section of the Ninth Ward that are in century. In bringing I'm not saying this but more to. The holy cross and ultimately to the lower ninth won't you bring life back where there isn't any now. And and don't we hear the cries of -- we need stores and we need a dentist and a gas station. Well you know we have holy cross. Portion of the -- Ninth Ward is Deval. You don't -- huge block firmly in our vacant or huge blocks of life. In the -- -- nine what itself pants Claiborne avenue so Little League. But there's life being read into that area right now it's we speak the they're getting a fire station. The year getting. Communities and our huge communities and alone -- -- Florida. But again there are huge lack of eight lanes where we would. We don't even have -- for a market we have to golden shower man. Efficient or we have the goal to. Agent -- Because we do not have. Anything from your legion field or in some markets hill and some -- -- -- that. We welcome economic development but what we don't want is to take them that the -- that. Cream of the crop of -- maple. And -- create some -- forty. That. Will. Rise buildings in the area. Would be the maximum that your organization. Would accept. Well I can't speak for the membership on that I mean I think it's important that I go to my members and talk to them about that I think we right now believe that that historic zoning designation is -- a reason. They -- height limit was not you know plucked out of a hat Willy -- it was decided upon. Through very concentrated careful study of the existing buildings in order to preserve the character -- the -- -- to 25 of the forty foot height for the reason why there is a forty foot height limit is because of very careful study I think that's what we support we support very careful study. That would inform zoning changes and if I could just speak to that. That notion -- you know so. Wouldn't this sort of projects to serve as a catalyst. I'm one of our. They pretty here as an exaggerator has spoken to this really effectively. We. Over the past nine years have been fighting for a grocery store and we have been fighting for a school and we know what it takes to have one. For instance many of that I'm grocers have argued that -- need 25000 households in order to support grocery store. 284. Apartment units is not going to do that. And some of the other development that we're seeing you know a community center a fire station. Those sorts of things support. The kind of slow and steady. Redevelopment. That is more responsible. That allows for redevelopment that is in keeping with the character. You know without without sort of suddenly imposing this. -- two -- -- -- -- -- monstrosity -- -- with a little more you know that that really is its own it's an island outside of the community and doesn't do anything to advance. The development of it because it would not be part. You know one of the things that I you know I grew up in holy cross I was raised in across. In one of the things that we cherished with the ability as kids to run not that -- rolled down Bryant flat rates up there. The church I think it's a little and they actually did used to do back -- in the -- I have a granddaughter. And I reason she's three. At the same event that I. On well week you walk. In our neighborhood without a -- -- that that project will bring. Did amount of rapping dance amount of people we know Arnie but we want in the old that I can tell you who lives. Within four block radius Norton. When you've got highrise community and putting that up as many people as their top projecting a breeding. You know whoever we become strangers. And it did it becomes -- -- You know soul we have a lot to think about -- I think we have a lot at -- -- walk on the street look at the group not going to be able to do that with a seven story building -- there. And again you know not all economic development we just wanna keep on maple. The character. That we've always -- again -- I'm 59 is allow B sixty. In the sixty years. App open -- was they it was thick enough to raise my two world. One is a writer reporter in the other one he owns his own business -- he's a barber. You know and and I've -- my children read them and daughter and I wore. The same kind of community I'm not opposed to change I'm not a pulls economic development we -- we welcome. -- -- Blood give us what we really need -- what we've really wars. We'll be right back stay with us. We're talking with members of the holy cross neighborhood and there -- battle against a proposal. To redevelop -- a very large area of holy cross. Campus fourteen acres let's get a call from AJ. In Saint Bernard. You know. Got a bit of land at -- speak in a boat that we -- have been donated. Remember which. We packed -- making move from Germany. Have Beckman. And we've been trying to researcher wreckage should be -- Well you know -- wreckage of mission and everything like that and it only give him with. Show right now I'd -- -- -- our privacy about didn't turn. In other -- she can -- the world's those fourteen acres -- campuses. Had -- donated by your family. You -- years ago. Yeah yeah used. And it would it is it was supposed to been from work out understand all promote -- that. That would Kmart and into the school it would Rupert Specter remember. Stretch where chronic tricked into right now. But we don't oh we should -- I think you just meant three difference if you can. Use our eyes we're all look at each -- like one. We need to get right number perhaps I mean you could get and give the number two mark who is the one answered the phone and they -- These people will get in touch with. And oh -- that is very interesting that you may age. Would be in -- My thought. -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- EPC. -- the water from each mile and mile and mile and that happened last week by ears. As a result 12 there and a high. I'll believe it would just talk about Miami Beach and and I here -- -- sang. There's just to me I guess because I. Want to believe that. Life can be compromised that. Exactly what you're saying you want development we do you do not wants to stop but it's how it's done and certainly there can be something. That we're hands could be joined. Where you know historically the neighborhood can remain. With the feel that it has and yet you do need new life you do need grocery store you do need more population. Absolutely is there a way to do it. I absolutely I just think that the other historical districts need to open mind to the fact that we want to achieve the is like economists start the ball and once that happens I grew up at Virginia and I can tell you. It's happened there happened in Miami happened -- short. It is happening in Biloxi to a degree. -- if you don't control of it here. And I think that's what John -- he was saying when he spoke at the age of the recent HD LC meeting and that. That. That's not the New Orleans we want and I think this is I mean I I know that this has been revisited more than once that our neighbors and covered mayor and he has also spot a similar fight. And and I attended a meeting recently where residents from the mayor and he said. We've had this discussion. Why we keep having to have this discussion again and again we need to protect our neighbor -- our our neighborhoods in our city from looking from the -- Another Miami and other Houston. And I think that's exactly understand daddy thing at least thank you very much for calling everyone stay with -- we'll be right back. I want to thank again. Sarah -- blocker Kelvin Alexander one to daily fighting the good fight for your neighborhood and your final thoughts. We just really would like to have the support of everybody. Who cares about that character -- the city. Every one in historic neighborhoods please come out TC counts on April 10 City Council meeting again at 10 am. Please come early and support us. We also do have a online petition at change dot org and you search for holy cross he'll find petitions there. -- on FaceBook there -- kinds of ways that you cannot support us and please please do thank you very very much. Will follow this as well but I want everybody to stay with this were shifting gears ever going to be talking about. Can you be ripped off during tax time -- enters a big yes so stay with this financial now let's go to the newsroom and Chris Miller.