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WWL>Topics>>7-23-14 1pm, Angela, On the Front Porch

7-23-14 1pm, Angela, On the Front Porch

Jul 23, 2014|

ON THE FRONT PORCH—with the Audubon Riverside Neighborhood Group. Big issues involving progress versus preservation: ZONING - how much business development and what kind of businesses should be allowed? Also, UNLICENSED SHORT TERM RENTALS—should the city keep the ban & enforce the laws on the books…or legalize them?

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Automatically Generated Transcript (may not be 100% accurate)

Cannot believe it is already Wednesday we are home today. It's been a good week hoping to get drenched and hopefully we'll see you little son before the -- out. Looking forward to the next three hours our first hour. As I've said many times I love getting to know the people of neighborhoods and we have a new neighborhood. That we're going to be talking with first hour our second hour. A visit from the doctor you know I'm talking about doctor -- -- talking about anything you ever need to know where their man or woman. Euro logically sexually whenever he's -- cancers. And our third hour please tune him. Two phenomenal women. Who are opera singers but they have made it in their continuing on in America's Got Talent concert. Content type talent contest I'm sorry. And different here. So we're gonna hear their stories and and their singing is unbelievable. I think -- stories equally not just to dynamos. But we're gonna begin with our game getting to know. Another of our wonderful neighborhoods and what makes the -- Riverside neighborhood association self interest. Is -- it's only twelve years old in the city of neighborhood groups many decades old. But there's good reason. It's birth was really in reaction to the controversy. Concerning the development of the old bus barn on magazine street. And that set the tone for the work of the audobin Riverside neighborhood association. And percents. We are so happy to have doctor David L Smith who was president the association. And -- will host past president of the association. So I'm pretty convinced that between two view you can give me the history of every -- as opposed -- we can do okay. As we always do let's start with defining your name what -- the boundaries. Share our neighborhood. Is bounded by on -- exposition boulevard boulevard which is the eastern border of Audubon park. All the way to Jefferson avenue. And from the river to camp street. That's a big area. That is a big area so. There were two groups originally currently amount to sort of inactive neighborhood groups that covered this area. And then the -- foreign thing happened and you were born. Right that neither David RRI and lived in the neighborhood when that was going on so I can only speak from what I've heard. But as I understand that when the -- issue of the bus -- development came up whole foods wanted to come and buy yet. On a neighborhood association. Was on de facto created. Opposing. The whole foods coming -- and so that's it it was really zoning issue that on gave birth to the neighborhood association. Since then on from we have I think on grown and become more sophisticated. On in on both our approach to. Business is coming into the neighborhood. And com. How we sort of address the various. Competing interest. Very good. Take us back a little bit even though you weren't in the neighborhood. They were against an obviously whole foods is flourishing so in in a sense they lost or sort of what is the reaction now that it's clear. Well and again I'm I'm just speaking from what I've heard about Tom controversy. I wasn't there but. You know honestly Angela my take on it is that. The neighborhood one. Com. Sometimes you don't realize what is good for you. Com the fact that there was. A better neighbor. It became acutely aware that the neighborhood. Cared about. What you know existed within its boundaries. So on the whole food I think has worked hard partly as a result of the controversy. To be a good neighbor to the neighborhood it's mindful. Of mom of the concerns that the neighbors around the palm store have. When it starts to when issues start to crop up on it knows it's got the -- Riverside neighborhood association that it can come to. And the neighbors know that they have Arnott that they can come to to sort of bring those issues to a single forum and and they can be Vatican result. Think that's wonderful and I think that's sort of the essence of what a neighborhood association should be. But it is about good neighbors before we go on. I'm just curious if neither you live there than what drew you to the neighborhood how do you see your neighborhood. Well I'm moved to New Orleans in 2009. And I rented apartment on the other side of -- street on chestnut Webster. And I -- there knowing nothing about New Orleans except. I knew some people from New Orleans and I said this would be a nice neighborhood -- to two -- team. So I I moved to the area and I fell in love with it. And then it came time to buy a house. And I got married. I guess I'd bought a house several months later. And one of the nice things about that side of magazine street. Is. Is. The really the family atmosphere. There's so much they're young families. There if they're quiet neighborhoods there -- a lot of foot traffic Q you really get to know your neighbors in a way that I haven't experienced other places I've lived. Which have been several so it's it's really endearing part of the city and down. You know I didn't exactly know what I was getting into and I moved there by I I could not imagine a better place to live. And that figure run in the neighborhood association well yeah yes -- really jumped that's right that's right it's it's. It's a place that -- You know when you love when you love someplace you wanna participate. And to the extent that that Sharon and I can sort of direct things and and away and it will. And positively for our neighbors we certainly want to participate so so here we -- And how long have you lived -- share. I'm I'm moved to the neighborhood. In march of 2006. I was washed out of lake view. So we found a place we were looking for something that was naturally high ground you remember that time as well is on you probably Angela. And so on we were interested in moving in two on the uptown area. What I didn't anticipate. Was how much I would launch of the sort of urban. Settings. That that part of uptown in as it is it is the most delightfully. European. Mom atmosphere you can walk to anything. From. People sit on their porches and you can wave to your neighbors going by an evening it it is just it is a delightful place to live and I I did not bomb. I didn't have any expectation like that when and I was looking in the area that was just. One of the incredible side benefits that that we got there there are many positive kind of a -- -- -- but us being able to move in that neighborhood has been one of them. Yeah that these stories that I -- because they get in neighborhood is nothing but people and so that you get to know your neighbors and you have that sentences in is important. But we're gonna take a break we're gonna come back tomorrow gonna talk about as again zoning is one of your major issues some of the battles that you've been through in some of -- -- continuing. Stay with this financial under evidently well. We are on our front porch getting to know they thought of the Riverside neighborhood. Through the association president doctor David Smith and the former president Sharon -- -- and you've really done a beautiful job of describing. Why you love it there what the attributes are and but again you have said that your primary focus thus far has been. The zoning issues to kind of take us back and another one analyst -- remember that in the news so. Kind of take -- there. So. I was just coming onto the board win. The Walgreens issue was calm nearing completion. And so again I'm not going to be able to speak with direct knowledge on the house but on I was at the tail end of that and what I observed van and I was in new board member at the time was that. It's seem to be a com. A process by winch. -- and its board. -- attempted to work with the businesses eat you can't you can't stop change change is going to happen. And so with that in mind. If you approach it in. With the -- towards making the change. As positive for the neighborhood as you possibly can then I think it's going to be a win win. And I think that's what happened with Walgreens Walgreens initially had an entirely different. Com lay out and -- front. For their store it was gonna look very different than what it turned out to date. Ought to then -- voiced its opinion com and was able to encourage Walgreens. To make changes to their storefront. That would be more in keeping with the flavor of the neighborhood Walgreens. Got so excited about the prospect. Of on what we were proposing. That it has be calm their signature store they are very very pleased and proud. Of the way that Walgreens looks I think the neighborhood in general is also are pleased and proud of the way it looks and and is happy with Walgreens. As a neighbor. What other ones are in now looking. So. There's a development that is going -- at the corner of magazine and Nashville. It's three. Cottages. That now were purchased by one developer. He came to us fairly early on and let us know what he was planning on doing. Com Susan Kendry was instrumental in directing him Tomas. Com he. So far. -- has indicated he -- needs no conditional use permits. No zoning variances no obligation on his part to come to the neighborhood but yet he dead. And he showed us the plans they were very conceptual at the time. He. You know took our comments we we were. We made -- comments about what you know what we thought was good or bad about what he was trying to do. Again more in terms of just appearance we can't control much on so it was more in terms of just appearance. We strongly encouraged him. To maintain. The -- Victorian cottage appearance of those store fronts his initial plan was not to do about it. But I think because. On -- Riverside neighborhood association. -- associations implement them. He modified his plans and is going to retain. The Victorian cottage appearance of those buildings. So I think again it's it's been up a positive thing what we try to. On encourage businesses to come to us Susan -- is very good about. -- directing. Interest to developers into coming to the -- Riverside neighborhood association. And com. That has been very positive so they come to us and were able to calm dialogue with them. And she is up and she's been she has been doing that. For quite some time even longer than. Dan. There was there -- an ordinance passed. Late last year in which in which. These things were to be well. In which these issues word to be brought to should be brought to the neighborhood associations that she's been doing it for a number of years so. That's been really important for us because often there are things that. We would like to address as a neighborhood association that we don't we wouldn't know about unless isn't entries office directed it to -- And there have been a few. A few instances in which. Are now was not aware of things that were happening even on the magazine's recorder. And we you -- Just because we didn't have enough time to do anything about it we didn't have a say. So seizing -- offices have been great about letting us know on the front and or having the proposed. And the proposed businesses. Let us know said that the -- Clinton neighborhood canvas and. That is so Smart and really to me what a council person should should be -- It's -- it's always interesting to me when you have an I don't know what exactly what you're talking about when you said the three Victorian -- is that somebody would want to commend. And not -- three Victorian conscious because. In fact that's the beauty of the area. It will just developer was not from here and so I don't think -- com. Really had initially an appreciation for but. Again by dialogue in the neighborhood it doesn't take long before. Someone will start to realize how important that is the neighborhood and he was very receptive to change. Let's talk about with because you're right it's it's a delicate balance of progress and change. And business and residents and oftentimes to the common denominator is tragic. And how does that traffic and parking. So how does that work. Well in general the way things work can and we've even addressed the traffic situation -- the last couple of years in general what happens is. We encourage people from the neighborhood to raise any concerns. That they can place -- -- -- propose that issues be placed on our agenda we have monthly meeting. And and and we'll talk about whatever issues and individual or group of individuals wants talk about so last year. On -- last year we talked about one instance of some some traffic issues because uptown a lot of the reds are very narrow. You know even though it's a two way street. There's parking on the sides and really it's only one way there it's only enough -- have to take -- one -- through and as you can imagine and in relatively highly trafficked streets that can. That can cause some problems. So especially around whole foods. You know where everybody's -- and on the street and it's hard for even the residents today get a place to park. That has been an issue so. In the most recent example. We we drafted a we drafted a letter to get to this city says that they would. Take a look at the traffic in the areas that we were that. We were raised as as concerning sites. And down and and you know we. We gave our opinion to a certain extent that these are problem areas but more interest in letting the city decide the experts if you will. Decide what best to do about that area. We haven't heard from them yet but in general I think. What we like to do is. Be a forum for people in the neighborhood to express their opinions. Two. -- their opinions. Among the entire membership. And then to form some sort of a statement or or in some other way try to encourage some movement you know. We can't change the way the streets ran. And even if we had a very strongly worded proposal it it may not go anywhere. So what we end up doing is is. Is sort of on integrating the opinion and trying to form some sort of consensus and then pass -- along to whoever can deal. You know sometimes you're almost a victim of success. Because with more more wonderful restaurants more wonderful shops coffee shops everything all that stuff you love about magazine street there is the reality of we're just one park. And I know what -- talking about the streets that are really two ways but their cars on both sides and it's almost like let's play chicken -- With the car coming toward you. But you know -- I've often wondered if they can't makes a mean -- to change that. 11 street one way. I mean right and so anyway listen. An you know getting back to the parking issue what one thing that come. Concerns man I don't know what cancerous because when you're in a densely populated area I don't know where people all their cars but. When businesses come man on. Date the city's somehow all determines. That there are grandfathered parking places. It took me awhile to understand what that means but I think I understand it now. It means that they are pretend parking places. So that a business says it has been grandfathered -- -- parking places and it only needs five more in order to accommodate its business. What that means it has. It doesn't have to worry about when he when he spaces. They don't exist that don't actually exists there's not actually a parking lot -- MySpace isn't it there's just they they can take. Credit for twenty spaces that don't exist and then all they have to do -- come with five additional spaces to me that does not solve a parking problem. Pretending their spaces there when their -- doesn't solve the parking problem I don't have any alternatives but. It would be. An interesting thing. Honest to address with the city. The pretend parking spaces right. So that the shop owner says I have twenty spaces and he's -- where are today you can't tell you but he's pretty sure he's gone. He's set he says he has them but they're not. I'm laughing it's not funny we're gonna take a break for news only come back. We're gonna talk about another issue that's really raising its head and other neighborhoods as well and that is the short term rental. Right after this I'm Angela under the W. Fact -- Angela hill on WWL. Erin -- host and doctor David Smith our guest today representing me. Audobin Riverside neighborhood association. Talking about what it's like to live in their beautiful neighborhood and some of the issues they face and none. And not battled but address. And something that again we've said has. Has continued to come up both in the French Quarter in the marinate. A short term Reynolds and it's obviously not exclusive because -- it's happening uptown there are rules and their rules may be different than me -- for the quarter. But are you sensing -- being abused. Well. If if the rules are that someone has to do. Have are our grant period longer than thirty days. Yes there are a lot of places in our neighborhood. In fact a couple places on my block that. That tourists are coming in and out. It's interesting because I've I've taken sort of an informal poll every time I talk to people around the neighborhood. And there's a variety of opinions because. You know on the one hand. It brings money to people who often live nearby. On the other on. Sort of the same positive. Position. On you know. A lot of people who have nice. Established. -- relationships with their neighbors enjoy -- seeing new people come and bring a little bit of life energy see people enjoying the neighborhood. Because because probably we all wish that people who were coming in from at a town would appreciate New Orleans. Above and beyond the French Quarter for instance. But then there are placed on my block I don't think it's a huge problem at least talking to my neighbors that a lot of people are upset. The thing you have blocks even in our neighborhood and certainly elsewhere. Where. That those short term rentals disturb the integrity of the neighborhood you don't know who your neighbors are. And and that that leads to all sorts of different problems you know when you don't have control about. About who's around noise or are just the general feeling of welfare if not knowing who you're living where. So. I think it's a complicated topic. I I think that again sort of like what we talked with talked about with the wall greens and and and whole foods. Change is gonna happen and the sharing economy is is an entity. That will exist in some form I mean you're you're not gonna stop. FaceBook Twitter and so forth. There is going to be some form of sharing economy -- -- can exist. For the foreseeable future so the question to me. And for the city I guess is how do you. How do you make it mutually beneficial. -- regulated no way such that. There's compromise. People can see it. You know the bad things can be minimized the good things can be maximized because just stamping it out I think it's a possibility. No but did something that they always comment on and and there are I have actually interviewed neighbors who are almost ready to move. Because and and this is primarily in the quarter. Whole groups come in for bachelor weekends and it's loud noisy and they could give a damn about whatever so that is an issue if you love your neighborhood. Conversely there are those who just as you say come -- but in reality their rules and laws and there's taxes that need to be paid. The unfairness to somebody who does have the -- license. Who is paying the taxes vs those who -- not. So the mutual. Benefit -- also be. You know what we understand the sharing economy but here's the deal. You can also pay. Just like everybody else otherwise why have the rules. The other thing is this is that the aggravation on the part of people both in the quarter and Manning we talked to is that they're just not enforced right so why have laws if you're not gonna enforce. That's exactly right I mean my take on. Short term rental issue. Is that we have to decide what our rules are going to be. And then we have to enforce them and and I. Completely agree with you that. Folks businesses should not be able to run. You know run under the radar. Taking advantage of home the fact the word terrorist down. And not pay the taxes not follow the rules and other law abiding businesses do follow so I completely agree with you it's it's something that just has to be. Vetted -- we have all decide on what is the fair thing to do and -- not enforcement enforcement enforcement and. And that is that that is a tough issue a table suggesting in your comment on doctor Smith on. Sometimes these places are that the the owners live right across the street -- they've lived on the block. Where some of their people are aggravated an Iranian border because these people who about it temperature so they have nothing invested. Emotionally with neighbors. And it's it's a business -- and down anyway so -- We're gonna take another break we're gonna come back and I we always ask our neighborhoods. Let's talk titles and let's talk street like. Right after -- loved loved loved getting to know our neighborhoods and this is audobin Riverside neighborhood association. Once again we started literally the perimeters are. Exposition boulevard. To Jefferson. Camp street to the -- yeah that's a that's a great area and that also includes as we've been talking about treatment magazine street journal wonders of magazine. And so as you have been saying a lot of what you work has been has been zoning and and watching it and you know and that's good. But also you live in neighborhood in the city that everybody has a bad puddles but but let's talk about streets. Let's talk about straits you know we have pie holes just like everybody else. I wish I had a good answer to that to the -- issue. All we can do is direct hour on neighbors to contact the city. We don't have a magic wand. If if you wanna talk about street lights let's talk lights and and lightning. That is something that we do try to address in our neighborhood com. We have a district commander Paul now well on over the -- PD district on that encompasses our neighborhood. And we have him come to our net to talk to our neighborhood association probably once a year. On the he gives tips on how to stay safe the things you can do to sort of common sense things you can do. On to keep yourself safe in a city of high crime. And on one thing that I take home every single time he comes to speak to us is lightning. He. Highly highly highly recommends. Good -- good lighting around your house. Good street lights there you can get in touch with Entergy and arranged to have additional lights. -- added around your driveway around -- home. Com can you you pay for that. You do it there's a cost associated with that but. Entergy will will assist you in in doing. And that is Paul no wells number one -- in those install lights around your house mom bad guys do not like to be in the light. And so. That's that's. His number 110 do you lol are you all into the crime camera. Thing. On we have that issue has not really come up in our neighborhood. Do you have much crime. I think we do I mean it really an uptown I mean -- has crime. We're probably fortunate that we are certainly not one of the high crime areas. But. Every neighborhood. I -- -- -- column but suggestion about you know we've done so many in the frustration people have with the city's street lights not being. And what they should be. And that's an understatement but to two on side streets and things like that that are not main thoroughfares that you as a person. Can get more lights put up by Entergy you then would pay for the lights themselves or be just because it's extra electricity yeah I don't recall the details but. Contact Entergy yeah because I can that can help you know that's that's a very good idea and yes it couldn't agree more light light light. Are you aware of of the crime situation and. Well I'm not aware of statistics. -- everybody is going to have. You know every block is gonna have. Some petty crime I mean I know that. I had a bike stolen out of my backyard within the last few months and and a neighbor across the street did as well. Those things are gonna happen. You know we had an event on now. On Octavia and magazine in the last year in which -- lady was robbed at gunpoint then and and the perpetrate Iran by our houses actually Sharon he was eventually cut. So. Obviously these things again are gonna happen when you live in an urban setting. We are fortunate in that we haven't had. To my knowledge a lot of a lot of violent. Activity. But. You know you always have to keep your eye out and and it's important not to be lulled to sleep. Because. And because you think you live in a safer place than you do. So we have been very fortunate in that I'm not aware of any really terrible things happening there recently. Within within a pretty small radius. Are you in the sixth district. Is such as it is I guess a success and do you all have private patrol that you pay. On there is private patrol available. It's it is not with our. Organization. It is CB. CP talents. It's run it's run by one man show there's not a young woman that has put together and she organizes -- she -- dues I think it's forty dollars a month. And you cannot sign up for PCP talents. -- and and that affords. Some private protection. On it also allows you if like if you're coming home late at night you -- need to get from your -- your parents. Then -- volunteered -- and their affair that that's right but we we don't. Other then then that volunteer organization which is not affiliated with or not. We don't have privacy do you have a sense of police presence even in any of this era that we're going through where there are not enough police. I think there are not enough place I think the city needs more good trained officers on our streets and south. I can't say that I. See a police presence in our neighborhood come on shore a lot of our neighbors would like to see of most more robust police presence. But I think that's a factor of of the police have to be. Where. You know the hot spots are and I think we need more police officer. Yes -- god knows we've done so many programs on that and and will continue to because it's an just an enormous issue but we we often think you know of the downtown French -- but now it's neighborhoods it's. As citizens we need right more of the patrol cars going by interest it. Kind of -- latter five writ small you know. Latter five. Fire -- was was removed from our neighborhood. Because the city didn't have the resources. And they said well you don't have that many fires so we got we got to move it to a place where. Where the the neighborhoods are in in greater danger and I think to a certain extent our neighborhood is a victim of the relative tranquility. Again not tranquillity but relative tranquility. You know with limited resources I I. Think that the police just end up being in and hotter spots than ours which doesn't mean that we all I I suspect wish that we had more police. Visible in the area. All the time I know I didn't. Now except that the fire station violent instincts direct that's that's of such a shame and such acute fire department. If I ask the fire departments eleven the fire station is still open. It's the latter five that there was latter or latter letter last try. Right that's really services taller buildings -- -- structures it got moved to. I think -- got moved to another location but it had to do with com. Personnel there was insufficient personnel to be able to man. -- the latter. And so the fire chief. I think after a lot of study made the decision to remove the latter because he didn't want frankly to endanger. His own officers. And that and -- the public in general by having an understaffed. Hopefully fire department. You know we've set for so long. So many positives to happen in new world in so many post-Katrina and yet. We we do have these service issues whether it fire police or whatever and and it's like we're gonna have to pay for right and yet we -- so many people feel so terribly overtaxed. At some of the bigger issues are. We're not taxing enough people. Because it's it's only like a quarter of the people pay taxes and I think we're all in pushing -- whether it's a -- issue with its lighting issue whether it's a police issue. Of coming to grips with what do we really want the city to -- and how are we gonna pay for it and those very tough decisions. But you'll make it great it's the neighborhoods that make us what we are. And just yes before you go. Your encouragement to join the team. And yet if you live in our neighborhood. Remember that that. Strength comes because of numbers. We want people to get involved who want them to become active members. It's a very small amount of money to be a member for a year it's thirty dollars for a household. And and you know we have a board that. We have committees that do a number of tasks that are very important and all of the things that are now has done successes that we had. Have all been because of the membership. You know if somebody if the business comes -- wants pared down things on magazine street and and and put up a skyscraper. And a few people show up at our meeting. And say I don't know you know those sorts of things can happen but if people are members and they participate then we'll be in good shape. Thank you both go to their web site. And that is very quickly Ottoman Riverside neighborhood association dot com or dot -- dot org dot org your great thank you all stay with this everyone will be right back.

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