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Semi-Monthly Zoning Meeting

CPC Deadline: 10/24/08


Tuesday, September 9, 2008
CC Deadline: 12/2/08
City Council District: A
Councilmember:
Midura

PRELIMINARY STAFF REPORT

To: City Planning Commission Prepared by: Geoffrey Moen and Leila
Manouchehri
Zoning Docket: 51/08 Date: September 8, 2008

I. GENERAL INFORMATION:

Applicant: Lucy Holdings, LLC

Request: This is a request for a zoning change from an RD-4 Two-Family Residential
District to a B-1A Neighborhood Business District and a conditional use to permit
the service of alcoholic beverages at a standard restaurant.

Location: The petitioned property is located in the Sixth Municipal District, on Square 14,
Lot 22-23, bounded by Henry Clay Avenue, Annunciation, Laurel and Calhoun
Streets. The municipal address is 438 Henry Clay Avenue. (ZBM A-15)

Description: The petitioned lot has a width of approximately sixty-five (65) feet and a depth of
one hundred twenty (120) feet, and has an area of 7,779 square feet (0.18 acre).
The site is improved with a wood-frame structure touching or extending beyond
all four of its property lines and ranging in height from one story at the rear of the
lot to two stories at the corner of Laurel Street and Henry Clay Avenue. A patio
and covered courtyard are located to the interior of the site. The first story of the
structure has been occupied by commercial uses in the past and is currently
occupied by a legally nonconforming reception hall. The second floor of the
structure is occupied by a single-family dwelling. The applicant requests a zoning
change and a conditional use to permit the service of alcoholic beverages with
meals in a standard restaurant. The proposed restaurant would occupy the entirety
of the first floor of the structure and an outdoor patio on the interior side of the
property. It would have a total floor area of approximately 5,893 square feet. No
off-street parking is provided or proposed by the applicant.

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Why is City Planning Commission action required?

The City Planning Commission is required to make a recommendation on all zoning map
amendments and on all conditional use requests prior to City Council action, in
accordance with Article 16, Section 16.2.3.2 Planning Commission Recommendation
and Article 16, Section 16.6.4 Procedures for Conditional Use Permits of the
Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance, respectively. All permitted uses exceeding 5,000
square feet of floor area are conditional uses in the B-1A Neighborhood Business
District, as are standard restaurants which sell alcohol and occupy less than 5,000 square
feet of floor area, per Article 5, Sections 5.5.5.2 and 5.5.5.20. of the Comprehensive
Zoning Ordinance, respectively.

II. ANALYSIS

A. What is the zoning and land use history of the site?

Zoning:

1929 A – Residence District


1953 B – Two Family District
1970 RM-3 Multiple-Family Residential District
1980 RD-4 Two-Family Residential District1

Land Use:

1929 Commercial Buildings


1949 Commercial Buildings
1999 Residential – Single/Two Family2

B. What are the surrounding land uses and zoning?

The subject property is located within an RD-4 Two-Family Residential District


generally covering properties between Tchoupitoulas and Magazine Streets, Jefferson
Avenue and Exposition Boulevard. This District is predominantly occupied by single-
and two-family dwellings, although there are also a number of historically commercial
and mixed-use structures located throughout the area.

An MS Medical Service District is located two blocks from the site on the river side of
Tchoupitoulas Street, and is occupied by the Children’s Hospital complex. A small B-2
Neighborhood Business District is located approximately four blocks toward the lake
from the site, and extends in a linear fashion along Magazine Street between Jefferson
1 Ordinance No. 7,919 M.C.S. (Zoning Docket 58/80).
2 The 1999 Land Use Plan presented a generalized picture of land uses at the time, and was not lot-specific.
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and Henry Clay Avenues. This District is occupied by a variety of small commercial
uses, including restaurants, an art store, and the Whole Foods Market grocery store. A P
Park and Recreation District is located two blocks in the uptown direction from the site,
and is occupied by Audubon Park.

C. Have there been any recent zoning changes or conditional uses in the immediate
area? If so, do these changes indicate any particular pattern or trend?

The following is a summary of zoning change and conditional use requests within several
blocks of the petitioned site in recent years.

Zoning Docket # 53/04 was a request for a conditional use to permit a private
elementary school in an RD-2 Two-Family Residential District. It was recommended for
approval by the City Planning Commission subject to three (3) waivers and nine (9)
provisos, and was subsequently approved as recommended by the City Council. This site
is located at 938 Calhoun Street, approximately three blocks from the petitioned site.

Zoning Docket # 34/01 was a request for a zoning map change from a B-2
Neighborhood Business District and an RD-4 Two-Family Residential District to a C-1A
General Commercial District and a conditional use to permit a retail use in a mini-
warehouse with a floor area of 30,500 square feet. It was recommended for approval by
the City Planning Commission subject to two (2) waivers and twenty-one (21) provisos,
and was subsequently approved as recommended by the City Council. This site is located
at 5600 Magazine Street, approximately seven blocks from the petitioned site.

Zoning Docket # 32/01 was a request for a conditional use to permit the sale of alcoholic
beverages in an existing restaurant in a B-2 Neighborhood Business District. It was
recommended for approval by the City Planning Commission subject to nine (9)
provisos, and was subsequently approved as recommended by the City Council. This site
is located at 741 State Street, approximately five blocks from the petitioned site.

These requests do not indicate a particular land use trend in the area surrounding the site.

D. What are the comments from the design review staff?

The applicant proposes to operate a restaurant, with the sale of alcohol beverages, on the
ground floor of an early nineteenth-century, two-story wood-frame structure. The
petitioned site measures approximately sixty-five (65) feet wide by one hundred and
twenty (120) feet in depth with a total area of 7,779 square feet. The area petitioned to be
used as restaurant space is approximately 5,893 square feet. This space will include
indoor seating, outdoor seating, office space and kitchen space for the proposed
restaurant. The floor plan details seating for approximately one hundred and twenty
(120) patrons, including seating for nineteen (19) tables totaling sixty-two (62) possible
patrons on the patio/courtyard. Indoor seating shows a total of sixteen (16) tables with
seating for a total of fifty-eight (58) possible patrons. A holding bar with an area of two
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hundred forty-two (242) square feet and seating for eight (8) patrons would be located
along the left side and toward the rear of the structure. In addition to the dining areas the
floor plan shows a foyer, kitchen, prep kitchen, walk-in cooler and loading space with
rear access to the dumpster and loading ramp.

Article 5, Section 5.5.3. of the Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance requires a business not
to exceed 5,000 square feet of floor area. As shown in the floor plan, the applicant
proposes to exceed the allowable floor space for a B-1A Zoning District. In order to
diminish the potential impact, the staff recommends reducing the overall square footage
of useable space to ease the pressure for on-street parking for the use. By reducing the
amount of usable space, the potential number of patrons present would be reduced. The
applicant must also comply with the provisions of Article 11, Section 11.51 Restaurants
(subsection 2. Holding Bar) of the Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance. The submitted
plans appear to indicate that the holding bar would have dimensions of eleven (11) feet in
width and twenty-two (22) feet in length, for an area of two hundred forty-two (242)
square feet, which is less than the maximum permissible area of three hundred (300)
square feet.

• The applicant shall be required to submit a revised site plan showing


compliance with Article 5, Section 5.5.3 Permitted Uses of the Comprehensive
Zoning Ordinance, requiring no more than 5,000 square feet of floor area.

• The applicant shall comply with Article 11, Section 11.51 Restaurants of the
Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance, which states that no holding bar shall exceed
fifteen (15) percent of the floor area of the seating area of the restaurant, up to a
maximum of 300 square feet for the holding bar area, and provided that no live
entertainment be allowed.

The second issue of concern is the potential noise that would be generated from the
overall use of the space. The staff believes it would be appropriate to reduce the amount
of outdoor seating space. In order to diminish any negative impact on neighboring
residents, the staff recommends that the courtyard/patio area be reduced to eight hundred
and fifty-six (856) square feet of usable seating space. This figure was calculated by
subtracting the total allowable space for a B-1A Neighborhood Business District3 from
the total indoor space.

• The applicant shall submit a revised site plan indicating that the area of the
courtyard/patio space does not exceed eight hundred and fifty-six (856) square
feet.

The applicant has indicated that some formal landscaping will be included in the
courtyard but did not indicate any major landscaping for the perimeter edge of the
property. The staff recommends that the applicant plant trees, hedges and shrubs along
the perimeter of the property in addition to areas along the right-of-way. The staff
3 Article 5, Section, 5.5.5(20). Conditional Uses. Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance.
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strongly believes that these modifications would mitigate the effect of any noise that
might project from the courtyard and would aid in enabling the applicant to meet the
requirement of reducing the square footage of the proposed use to 5,000 square feet.

• The applicant shall submit a detailed landscape plan for review and approval
of CPC staff which shows the following modifications: (1) The applicant shall
extend the existing interior planting bed abutting the residential property to a
minimum of eight (8) feet in depth. (2) The applicant shall plant tall hedges along
the abutting residential property that has the ability to attain a height of six (6)
feet within three years or less.

The applicant has submitted a preliminary landscaping plan for the front of the building
and there does appear to be some space for improvement along Laurel Street and Henry
Clay Avenue.

• The applicant shall install three (3) small trees along the Laurel Street right-
of-way and two (2) trees along the Henry Clay Avenue right-of-way.

• The applicant shall install an opaque fence with a height of seven (7) feet
along the perimeter of the property.

• The applicant shall secure a lease of servitude from the Department of


Property Management’s Real Estate and Records Division for the balcony, fence
and stairs that encroach within the Henry Clay Avenue and Laurel Street rights-
of-way.

The applicant has indicated that the facility is proposed to function as an upscale
restaurant with alcohol beverage service. The applicant has not submitted a menu at this
time.

• The restaurant shall use non-disposable tableware, with the exception that
only takeout orders shall be served in disposable containers.

To ensure that this facility does not cause disturbances for neighboring residential uses
and that certain performance standards are met, the staff recommends:

• Alcoholic beverage service for consumption on premises shall be served


in combination with food service. Food service shall comprise at least fifty
percent (50%) of the revenue for the restaurant and be available all times
alcoholic beverages are served or sold.

• The applicant shall not operate the business between the hours of 10:00
p.m. and 8:00 a.m.

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• The use of “to-go” cups for alcoholic beverages shall be prohibited.

• Live music shall be prohibited. Music of any kind shall not be projected to
the exterior of the restaurant building.

A restaurant with alcoholic beverage service may produce a significant amount of trash.
The applicant’s method of trash disposal is to store the trash in containers in the rear yard
of the restaurant and move to the curb for pickup on designated days. The staff
recommends that the trash storage containers be secured within a seven (7) foot high
opaque fence with latching gates to screen any trash storage from neighboring residential
uses.

• The trash storage containers shall be secured within a seven (7) foot high opaque
fence with latching gates to screen any trash storage from neighboring residential
uses.

• The applicant shall provide a litter abatement program letter inclusive of


the location and method of trash storage out of the public right-of-way, the
frequency of trash pickup, the clearing of all litter from the sidewalks, and the
periodic hosing of the street rights-of-way. The name and phone number of the
owner/operator of the restaurant shall be kept on file in case of any violations.

Signage is not indicated on the submitted plans. Any exterior signage is subject to
Article 5, Section 5.5.6 of the Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance and should be subject
to final review by the staff of the City Planning Commission.

• Any proposed exterior signage shall be subject to Article 5, Section 5.5.6


Permitted Signs of the Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance. No signage promoting
alcoholic beverages shall be permitted.

E. What impact will the proposed zoning change and conditional use have on the
transportation system, if any? What are the off-street parking requirements? Can
they be provided on site? If not, is a waiver required?

Magazine Street, which is located three blocks toward the lake, is the nearest major street
to the site according to the New Century New Orleans Transportation Plan. It provides
one lane of travel in each direction. All of the streets forming the subject square are
minor streets. Heny Clay Avenue, Laurel and Annunciation Streets each provide one lane
of travel in each direction. Calhoun Street provides one lane of travel toward the river.
All streets forming the subject square provide on-street parking on both sides of the
street.

Small businesses, including restaurants with alcoholic beverage service, function


throughout the city’s older neighborhoods at corner locations without causing disruption
to the transportation system. In addition, given the relatively dense pattern of residential
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development surrounding the site, it is reasonable to expect that some patrons of the
proposed restaurant will walk to the site. The staff therefore does not believe the
proposed zoning change and conditional use would adversely impact the City’s
transportation system.

No off-street parking is proposed, and none could be provided within the site. In
accordance with Article 5, Section 5.5.8. Special Regulations of the Comprehensive
Zoning Ordinance, no off-street parking or off-street loading spaces are required for
commercial uses under 5,000 square feet in a B-1A Neighborhood Business District. The
floor area of the proposed use is 5,893 square feet, for which six (6) off-street parking
spaces would be required. As noted above, however, restaurants selling alcoholic
beverages in the B-1A Neighborhood Business District are prohibited from exceeding
5,000 square feet of floor area. If the request were to be approved, the applicant would
therefore be required to submit and record revised plans indicating a floor area of 5,000
square feet, for which no off-street parking would be required. 4 The required off-street
parking space for the single-family dwelling on the second story of the structure is
grandfathered to the site. Although the proposed use would generate demand for on-
street parking in the surrounding area, the staff believes it is important to reiterate that
the first floor of the structure presently has legal nonconforming use status as a reception
hall. Reception halls generally attract visitors from outside the immediate vicinity of their
sites and consequently generate a significant demand for parking during times at which
receptions are held. The proposed use would likely generate a less significant but steadier
demand for parking.

F. Comments from other agencies/departments/committees

The proposal was considered by the Planning Advisory Committee at its meeting of July
9, 2008. The applicant appeared before the committee and presented a brief summary of
the request.

A representative of the Department of Property Management’s Division of Real Estate


and Records stated that a long term lease of servitude would be required for the balcony
extending over the street rights-of-way.

A representative of the City Planning Commission asked if any hours of operation were
proposed.

Mr. Sonnier responded that he wished to operate the restaurant between the hours of
11:00 a.m. and midnight Mondays through Saturdays.

A representative of the City Planning Commission asked if the existing reception hall

4 Even were the proposed use authorized to occupy more than 5,000 square feet of floor area, the requisite
number of off-street parking spaces would be grandfathered to the site, as the parking requirement for reception
halls (Auditorium, theater, gymnasium, stadium, arena, convention hall or other place of assembly) is stricter than
that for restaurants.
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occupied the entirety of the first floor of the structure.
Mr. Sonnier responded affirmatively.

A representative of the Department of Property Management’s Division of Real Estate


and Records asked if any dumpster or trash would be stored in the public right-of-way.

Mr. Sonnier responded that it would not.

A representative of the City Planning Commission asked how the second story of the
structure was used.

Mr. Sonnier responded that it was used as a four-bedroom apartment, and that it would
continue to be used as such.

The representative of the City Planning Commission then made a motion, which was
subsequently seconded and adopted unanimously, of no objection subject to further
review by the City Planning Commission and the Department of Property Management’s
Division of Real Estate and Records.

G. Can the request be considered a spot zone? Does it fall within the Historic Non-
Conforming Use Policy?

The Commission’s Historic Non-Conforming Use Policy provides four general and four
specific criteria by which a spot zone may be looked upon with favor. 5 General criterion
A requires that the petition be “generally consistent with the character of the surrounding
neighborhood.” Though the uses permitted in the B-1A Neighborhood Business District
are greater in intensity than the residential uses that surround the petitioned property,
there are a number of structures, generally located on corners and built to the corner
property lines, in the vicinity that have historically been used for commercial and mixed-
use purposes.6 Further, a small B-2 Neighborhood Business District running along
Magazine Street is located approximately four blocks toward the lake from the site. This
district is replete with commercial uses, including an art store, a large grocery store,
several restaurants, and a variety of other uses.

General criterion B requires that “[t]he petition serves neighborhood need.” According to
the Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance, the general purpose of the requested B-1A
Neighborhood Business District classification is “to serve the needs of surrounding
residential areas.”7 The proposed use of the property as a restaurant would be consistent
with this classification.
5 Ibid, pgs. 49-51.
6 The staff determined after a site visit to the area that several properties in the vicinity of the applicant’s property
are improved with structures that either were historically or are currently used for commercial or mixed-use
purposes—including but not limited to the following: 503 Henry Clay Avenue, 6016 Laurel Street (currently
Patois Restaurant), 5977 Laurel Street (currently a picture framing store), and the structure at the corner of
Webster and Annunciation Streets (currently Clancy’s Restaurant).
7 Article 5, Section 5.5.1. Purpose of the District of the Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance.
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General criterion C requires that “[t]he property has a history of serving neighborhood
need prior to 1929.” The 1929 City of New Orleans Land Use map indicates commercial
use of the property in the years prior to 1929.8

General criterion D requires that “[t]he petition is in harmony with the historic character
of the surrounding neighborhood.” As noted above, the request is consistent with past use
of the petitioned property for commercial purposes.9 However, the historic character of
the area reflects a significant trend toward the reduction of commercial uses not located
on Magazine Street. According to the 1929 City of New Orleans Land Use map, in 1927
there were fourteen (14) commercial uses located in the area bounded by Tchoupitoulas
Street, Exposition Boulevard, State Street, and Magazine Street, including the petitioned
property and excluding commercial uses located on Magazine Street.10 There were eleven
(11) commercial structures in the same area in 1949, including the petitioned property.11
By 1983, according to Sanborn maps, there were zero (0) commercial uses located in the
same area.12 By 1994, according to the Sanborn map for that period, there was only one
(1) commercial use in the same area.13

In contrast, as the applicable Sanborn and Land Use maps evidence, commercial use has
been a common feature of the section of Magazine Street bounded by Exposition
Boulevard and State Street. In 1927 and 1929, there were eight (8) and nine (9)
commercial uses in this area, respectively. 14 Similarly, by 1983, along the same section
of Magazine Street, there were eight (8) commercial uses, according to the applicable
Sanborn map. By 1994, this number had increased to eleven (11)—reflecting a strong
and historic trend of commercial use along the section of Magazine Street in the vicinity
of the petitioned property. In contrast, the staff believes the reduction of commercial uses
in the area surrounding the petitioned property, discounting commercial uses along
Magazine Street, reflects a significant trend away from the type of use that the applicant
proposes and toward a consolidation of commercial use along Magazine Street.

There are four specific criteria that must be fulfilled regarding the physical structure of
the petitioned property. The first specific criterion requires that the petitioned property
form the corner of two minor residential streets or two collector streets. In this instance,
the petitioned property satisfies this criterion by forming the corner of Henry Clay
Avenue and Laurel Street, both of which are minor residential streets.15

The second specific criterion requires that the petitioned property and its use or proposed
use be pedestrian oriented and not oriented to the automobile in a pedestrian oriented
8 City of NewOrleans 1929 Land Use Map, West Section.
9 1929 and 1949 City of New Orleans Land Use maps, West Section.
10 1929 City of New Orleans Land Use Map, West Section.
11 1949 City of New Orleans Land Use Map, West Section.
12 1983 City of New Orleans, Sanborn Map.
13 1994 Sanborn Map.
14 1929 and 1949 City of New Orleans Land Use maps, West Section.
15 New Century New Orleans Master Plan, Transportation Plan, Chapter 2, Maps 2 & 3.
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neighborhood. The requested B-1A Neighborhood Business District zoning classification
is intended to serve the needs of the pedestrian oriented residential neighborhood in the
immediate vicinity of the petitioned property. Further, the property, in its proposed use
as a restaurant, would retain the pedestrian oriented structure currently located on the
property, thus preserving the historically pedestrian friendly character of the petitioned
site.

The third specific criterion requires that the petitioned property should be developed with
most or all of the following characteristics: (a) The building must be built to the sidewalk
and frame the corner; (b) The building entrance must be visible from both streets—
typically on an angle at the corner; (c) The building must have either an overhang,
gallery, balcony, or canopy over the sidewalks; (d) The building must have display
windows and not have large blank walls; and (e) The building must not be a conversion
from a residential main use. The petitioned property is developed with all of the above
characteristics except characteristic (b) and (d).

The fourth specific criterion requires that the petitioned zoning classification must be the
most restrictive available to accommodate the class of uses to serve the neighborhood. In
this instance, the petitioned B-1A Neighborhood Business District zoning classification
would constitute the most restrictive available zoning classification for the property’s
proposed use as a restaurant.

Based on the above analysis, the staff believes the petitioned property meets most of the
requirements of the Historic Non-Conforming Use Policy.

H. What is the purpose of the proposed rezoning, and what effect would it have on the
adjacent land uses? What effects or impacts would the proposed conditional use
have on adjacent properties?

Purpose of proposed rezoning

The purpose of the proposed rezoning is to permit the commercial use of the site. Prior to
Hurricane Katrina, the first floor of the structure was used as a reception hall. A citizen
appealed a decision by the Department of Safety and Permits in October of 2006 that the
reception hall had attained legal nonconforming use status, but the decision of the City
was upheld by the Board of Zoning Adjustments in February of 2007. 16 Article 13,
Section 13.4.1. General Rule of the Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance provides the
following with regard to nonconforming uses:

In all districts, except the Vieux Carré Districts and the Historic Marigny/Tremé
Districts,if no structural alterations are made, a nonconforming use of a building may be
changed to another nonconforming use of the same or more restrictive classification,

16 Docket no. 127-06 was decided by the Board of Zoning Adjustments on February 12, 2007.
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provided that the new nonconforming use is not more intensive than the prior use.
Whenever a nonconforming use of a building has been changed to a more restricted use
or to a conforming use, such use shall not thereafter be changed to a less restricted use.

Changes in nonconforming use may be approved by a motion of the City Council,


following submission of a recommendation by the Executive Director of the City
Planning Commission that the change meets four standards, of which one is that
proposed use is not more intensive than the prior nonconforming use. Because reception
halls by definition must operate intermittently17 whereas standard restaurants operate
according to regular hours, the latter use should be considered more intense and the staff
would therefore not expect a change in nonconforming use for such to be approved. As a
result, the zoning of the property must be changed to business district in order to permit
the use of the petitioned property as a restaurant.

Effect of proposed rezoning on adjacent land uses

The B-1A Neighborhood Business District is the least intense of the City’s business and
commercial zoning districts. It was created in with the express purpose of “provid[ing]
primarily for convenient retail uses, selected personal uses, and professional offices to
serve the needs of surrounding residential areas,” and was intended “for application in
the older developed areas where there exists a grouping of commercial uses within the
district and where residential areas are in close proximity.” To that end, thirty-eight (38)
land uses are permitted in the B-1A District, including but not limited to such uses as
laundromats, barbershops, standard restaurants, banks, bookstores, antique stores, offices
and multiple-family dwellings. Automobile-oriented uses conversely are only authorized
as conditional uses in the B-1A District and are limited to one (1) such use per block
face. In addition, all permitted uses are conditional if they exceed 5,000 square feet of
floor area, and uses exceeding 10,000 square feet of floor area are prohibited. For these
reasons, the B-1A District is generally seen as harmonious with adjacent residential uses.
The staff therefore does not believe the proposed zoning change would adversely affect
adjacent land uses.

Effect of proposed conditional use on adjacent properties

Restaurants are generally associated with the impacts of traffic, garish signage, pressure
for off-street parking and noise. The staff is sensitive to these concerns, especially due to
the residential nature of the surrounding uses. Throughout the city, the service of alcohol
in small establishments has frequently been reported as problematic, with loitering,
security, and littering often brought up as associated problems. However, because the
applicant proposes to only serve alcohol during normal dining hours and with meals, the
staff does not expect the negative impacts cited above to result from this project. The
petitioned site is located within an area of the city that includes other corner commercial

17 A new definition for reception halls took effect on September 14, 2007 (Zoning Docket 48/07, Ordinance no.
22,789 M.C.S.), and is provided in Article 2, Section 2.2.147A. Reception facility of the Comprehensive Zoning
Ordinance.
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uses located adjacent to residences, and the staff believes that the conditions
recommended above would effectively mitigate the adverse impacts to adjacent
properties as a result of the service of alcoholic beverages with meals within the site.

III. Is the proposed action supported by or in conflict with the policies and strategies of
the New Century New Orleans Master Policy Plan?

The proposed action is supported by the following sections of the New Century New
Orleans Master Policy Recommendations:

Historic Preservation, Sec. 4.1: Further develop empty-nester and retiree market
opportunities by focusing on the special features of historic inner-city neighborhoods.
These include pedestrian scale, unique architectural features, and easy access to nearby
stores, transit, major cultural amenities, health and other services. (p. 11)

Neighborhood Commercial Services, Sec. 1.0: Promote businesses that have a


commitment to their neighborhoods and enhance the neighborhood setting. (p. 15)

Commercial Centers and Neighborhoods, Sec. 2.1: Create appropriate business mixes in
specific revitalized areas. (p. 20)

The proposed action is in conflict with the following sections of the New Century New
Orleans Master Policy Recommendations:

Existing Neighborhoods, Sec. 1.2: Reduce the large number of non-conforming uses and
the effect of inappropriate spot zoning in neighborhoods. Provide more control of non-
residential land uses within residential communities. (p. 9)

The proposed action is in conflict with the 1999 Land Use Plan, which recommends
“Residential – Single and Two Family” use for the site. It is important to note, however,
that this plan presented generalized land use recommendations, and was not lot-specific.

The proposed action is neither supported by nor in conflict with the goals of the Unified
New Orleans Plan District 3 Recovery Plan.

IV. SUMMARY

Zoning Docket 51/08 is a request for a zoning change from an RD-4 Two-Family
Residential District to a B-1A Neighborhood Business District and a conditional use to
permit the service of alcoholic beverages at a standard restaurant. The petitioned lot has a
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width of approximately sixty-five (65) feet and a depth of one hundred twenty (120) feet,
and has an area of 7,779 square feet (0.18 acre). The site is improved with a wood-frame
structure touching or extending beyond all four of its property lines and ranging in height
from one story at the rear of the lot to two stories at the corner of Laurel Street and
Henry Clay Avenue. A patio and covered courtyard are located to the interior of the site.
The first story of the structure has been occupied by commercial uses in the past and is
currently occupied by a legally nonconforming reception hall. The second floor of the
structure is occupied by a single-family dwelling. The applicant requests a zoning change
and a conditional use to permit the service of alcoholic beverages with meals in a
standard restaurant. The proposed restaurant would occupy the entirety of the first floor
of the structure and an outdoor patio on the interior side of the property. It would have a
total floor area of approximately 5,893 square feet. No off-street parking is provided or
proposed by the applicant.

The area surrounding the site is occupied predominantly by residential uses, but there are
examples of nonconforming commercial uses near the site. The petitioned property meets
the majority of the criteria of the City Planning Commission’s Historic Non-Conforming
Use Policy, and the proposed B-1A Neighborhood Business District is the least intense of
the City’s Business and Commercial Districts. A number of standard conditions are
recommended to mitigate various impacts of the proposed use, including but not limited
to litter abatement, landscaping, signage, and hours of operation. The staff also
recommends a reduction in the size of the proposed patio seating area in order to increase
the buffer between the restaurant and the neighboring residential use, eliminate the need
for off-street parking, and limit the size of the use to 5,000 square feet, which is the
maximum permitted size for a restaurant with alcoholic beverage service in a B-1A
District. The staff believes the recommended conditions will ensure the compatibility of
the restaurant with the adjacent and surrounding residential uses.

V. PRELIMINARY STAFF RECOMMENDATION18

The staff recommends APPROVAL of Zoning Docket 51/08, subject to fifteen (15)
provisos.

Provisos

1. The applicant shall be required to submit a revised site plan showing compliance
with Article 5, Section 5.5.3 Permitted Uses of the Comprehensive Zoning
Ordinance, requiring no more than 5,000 square feet of floor area.

18 Subject to modification by the City Planning Commission


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2. The applicant shall comply with Article 11, Section 11.51 Restaurants of the
Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance, which states that no holding bar shall exceed
fifteen (15) percent of the floor area of the seating area of the restaurant, up to a
maximum of 300 square feet for the holding bar area, and provided that no live
entertainment be allowed.

3. The applicant shall submit a revised site plan indicating that the area of the
courtyard/patio space does not exceed eight hundred and fifty-six (856) square
feet.

4. The applicant shall submit a detailed landscape plan for review and approval of
CPC staff which shows the following modifications: (1) The applicant shall
extend the existing interior planting bed abutting the residential property to a
minimum of eight (8) feet in depth. (2) The applicant shall plant tall hedges along
the abutting residential property that has the ability to attain a height of six (6)
feet within three years or less.

5. The applicant shall install three (3) small trees along the Laurel Street right-of-
way and two (2) trees along the Henry Clay Avenue right-of-way.

6. The applicant shall install an opaque fence with a height of seven (7) feet along
the perimeter of the property.

7. The applicant shall secure a lease of servitude from the Department of Property
Management’s Real Estate and Records Division for the balcony, fence and stairs
that encroach within the Henry Clay Avenue and Laurel Street rights-of-way.

8. The restaurant shall use non-disposable tableware, with the exception that only
takeout orders shall be served in disposable containers.

9. Alcoholic beverage service for consumption on premises shall be served in


combination with food service. Food service shall comprise at least fifty percent
(50%) of the revenue for the restaurant and be available all times alcoholic
beverages are served or sold.

10. The applicant shall not operate the business between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and
8:00 a.m.

11. The use of “to-go” cups for alcoholic beverages shall be prohibited.

12. Live music shall be prohibited. Music of any kind shall not be projected to the
exterior of the restaurant building.

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13. The trash storage containers shall be secured within a seven (7) foot high opaque
fence with latching gates to screen any trash storage from neighboring residential
uses.

14. The applicant shall provide a litter abatement program letter inclusive of the
location and method of trash storage out of the public right-of-way, the frequency
of trash pickup, the clearing of all litter from the sidewalks, and the periodic
hosing of the street rights-of-way. The name and phone number of the
owner/operator of the restaurant shall be kept on file in case of any violations.

15. Any proposed exterior signage shall be subject to Article 5, Section 5.5.6
Permitted Signs of the Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance. No signage promoting
alcoholic beverages shall be permitted.

VI. REASONS FOR RECOMMENDATION

1. The petitioned property satisfies the majority of the criteria of the City Planning
Commission’s Historic Non-Conforming Use Policy.

2. External effects of the proposed use on adjoining properties and the neighborhood
can be mitigated through imposition of the recommended conditions.

VII. PUBLIC HEARING (JULY 22, 2008)

The Assistant Director stated that the Civil District Court for the Parish of Orleans had
prior to the public hearing of the City Planning Commission issued a stay order
pertaining to the application, public hearing, and recommendation for Zoning Docket
51/08. She indicated that the Court would hold a hearing on the matter on August 27 th,
2008, and had ordered the City Planning Commission to hear the zoning docket on the
first available date following the Court hearing, which would be September 9th, 2008.

Commissioner Jackson then made the following motion, which was subsequently
seconded by Commissioner Sloss and adopted.

Motion

BE IT MOVED BY THE CITY PLANNING COMMISSION THAT THE PUBLIC


HEARING FOR AND CONSIDERATION OF ZONING DOCKET 51/08 IS HEREBY
DEFERRED UNTIL THE SEPTEMBER 9, 2008 MEETING OF THE CITY
PLANNING COMMISSION.

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YEAS: Amedee, Brown, Carlos-Lawrence, Duckworth, Jackson, Johnson,
Robinson, Sloss

NAYS: None

ABSENT: Volz

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