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Nearly 2 and a half hours in to the meeting, we are finally getting to the proposed limitations on outdoor live entertainment citywide for new businesses without a special event permit. You can read the staff report here:cityofno.granicus.com/MetaViewer.php…
This prohibition is being suggested as a part of the a proposal to limit outdoor music and dining in the Treme, Marginy and Bywater.
First speaker is Anthony Eschmann, who says he is in favor of the proposal that would 'protect the people of the Bywater, Treme, and Marigny' from live music anywhere at anytime.
Next speaker is Julie Jones, president of Neighbors First For Bywater, who says outdoor music is banned on St. Claude, and wants that ban expanded to other areas and neighborhoods when businesses are next door to residential areas.
Jones is also concerned that she will "hear the sounds of people outdoors enjoying drinks"
Mark Gonzalez from the Bywater says there is some hysteria being spread by opposition because existing businesses will be able to continue to operate. He supports the restrictions.
Another Bywater resident says he was worried that two event venues (that were not approved) could have destroyed the quality of life for other residents.
Another speaker "neighbors have a great concern about live entertainment, and nothing makes more sense than these restrictions"
Next speaker is Lisa Suarez who says a business next to her makes the quiet enjoyment of her home impossible.
Next speaker is Allen Johnson, president of the Faubourg Marigny Improvement Association says that in their fight against the Red Haus event venue sparked this motion, which they pushed for. Says Marigny deserves equal protection that other neighborhoods get.
Johnson says that as the tourism industry expands, there needs to be clear rules as to what is allowed, and these restrictions will provide that.
Next speaker is Donna Wakeman, says St. Claude Avenue is becoming a music scene, and says outdoor dining and music are prohibited elsewhere in the city, why aren't neighborhors there given the same protection of the quiet enjoyment of their homes?
Next speaker--we bought our house because it was historic neighborhood, and they thought it meant they would have "stability' which is what they want to create.
Next speaker says that people in the businesses near him don't have quiet conversations like at Commander's Palace or Galatoires. Instead they are yelling and screaming. Opposes outside dining and live entertainment.
Now moving to opposition. First speaker is Lerin Williams, who is a musician and works in cultural heritage. Notes that the districts in question are not, in fact, residential. Says the historic character of the neighborhoods includes live music and bars.
Williams has a petition to have the Motion pulled signed by 139 musicians, culture bearers who could not attend this meeting. At first Planning Commission says they cannot accept the petition, but legal council says they can.
Says this motion would prevent anyone new from opening a small business. Rampart St used to be a cultural incubator, but those businesses have been strategically removed. She wants to make sure the culture is preserved.
Next speaker is Mario Abney, a musician. Been in New Orleans for 11 years, music and cultural impact is what made him want to move here. Music is love and it brings people together. Musicians need to be able to make a living.
Next speaker is Arsene Delay, a fulltime musicians, 13th generation New Orleanian, and Storyville Baby Doll. Says neighborhoods have always coexisted with businesses, like Bullets, Dooky Chase, Willie Maes.
Says this process feels like a way to commodify the culture and cut out the indigenous culture bearers. What the planning commission is doing is continuing to fail to understand who New Orleans traditional culture bearers are, and treats them like something to be endured.
Mary Ann Hammet from Bywater Neighborhood Association opposed the motion. Says there is no such thing as "grandfathered in" you are actually creating non-conformities, which puts the businesses at increased risk of closure.
Someone one from the Safety and Permits "had to turn themselves into a pretzel" to come up with an interpretation the closed doors and windows policy would ban live entertainment citywide because there are no doors and windows outside. "It's ludicrous"
Next speaker is Hannah Kreiger-Benson from @musicculture504 who says it is inexcusable how live entertainment is discussed at Planning Commission meetings, like someone referring to a "hell hole of live music"
Says live music is always treated as something "to be endured", she has almost never seen lawmakers been proactive in protecting culture. If we had today's legal system 100 years ago, Jazz would not exist.
When quality of life is used as a term for wealthy residents to try to shut down something they don't like, we have a big problem.
Next speaker is Rhonda Findley, who notes that St. Claude is a business corridor and a state highway. We should be supporting small business development, not limiting uses. If you limit commercial use, will you lower the owner's taxes?
Next is Adina Marie, a musician and who runs a music venue in Central City, home to Black Mohawk MGI and several second line clubs. Lost their music license and it hurt the traditional cultural community. It's a slippery slope to losing the city's culture.
Next speaker is @RevMelanieNOLA "I'm glad to be here at the City Planning Commission of Cleveland". Says music is not a nuisance, a "hell hole", or a problem. We need to support it and encourage it.
@RevMelanieNOLA Public comment is over. Now CPC is asking questions. First ? from Commissioner Steeg. Would this actually bring the Treme, Marigny, and Bywater into line with the rest of the city. Answer, sort of, for dining.
@RevMelanieNOLA City Planning Staff says they are proposing a citywide prohibition to outdoor live entertainment to bring it in line with the determination of Safety and Permits, but it is not a "significant policy change".
@RevMelanieNOLA Via the zoning ordinance, the Director of Safety and Permits can make interpretations on what the zoning ordinance says, which are appealable to the Board of Zoning Adjustments.
@RevMelanieNOLA The Department of Safety and Permits only made the determination that outdoor live music was not allowed anywhere in the city because there were no doors and windows to close 2 MONTHS AGO.
@RevMelanieNOLA Commissioner Steeg is asking if, the citywide prohibition on live entertainment goes farther than what the Councilmember Palmer requested. Staff says no, it does not.
@RevMelanieNOLA Another City Planning Commission Board member asking how the public was notified about this change. Basically they advertised in the paper and online like any council ordinance.
@RevMelanieNOLA Commissioner Steeg making a motion to approve the staff recommendations, but remove the language that creates a citywide prohibition on live entertainment.
@RevMelanieNOLA The City Planning Commission Board makes a motion to suggest the approval of limitations on outdoor dining, but not make any changes to live entertainment. The vote is 3-2, but needs 5 votes to pass. This means it goes to City Council with no recommendation.
So, what essentially we have is the status quo, but no final decision, which will have to come from City Council. We'll put out more info, including next steps, next week.
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