Monday, May 10, 2010

Lets All Join Together for Neighborhoods

Lets All Join Together for Neighborhoods.

We are in opposition to a zoning change of three lots from residential (R1) to commercial (C1) behind the corner business on one of our neighborhood streets.

If the zoning change is approved, it will cause a decrease in property values. Added commercial and industrial traffic has already caused problems for the over two dozen children on this street and dozens more who live and play in the area. Creating such a traffic hazard increases the liability of the Parish and leaves these children without a safe neighborhood.

The same could happen to your neighborhood if the Parish continues to entertain such requests. With little to no public notice, the Council is discussing a parish-wide re-zoning of all properties within 250 feet of Judge Perez Drive, which could result in parking lots, dumpsters, commercial traffic and other nuisances coming to any residential street.

St Bernard Parish has more available commercial and industrial property now, than ever before, yet the integrity of all our residential neighborhoods appears to be expendable in the name of economic development. This type of zoning fails to meet St Bernard Parish's goal of economic development along with safe, productive family neighborhoods. Instead, this is spot zoning, and that's illegal.

Lets All Join Together for Neighborhoods. Here's what's happening in ours:

Murphy Oil entered into an agreement to sell some of its residentially-zoned property in the Ohio St. Neighborhood, on Despaux Drive, for $10,000 a lot. These properties were acquired by Murphy Oil pursuant the crude-oil-spill class action, Turner v Murphy Oil, for $44,000, $53,040, and $94,560, respectively. The former court-ordered voluntary option to sell to Murphy Oil was intended to create a green-zone buffer.

The perspective buyer wants to operate its growing catering business on the three R1-zoned lots behind the corner restaurant. Property is available on Judge Perez, but the buyer does not want to pay the higher price. If the re-zoning request is granted, commercial property will extend nearly 400 feet back from Judge Perez.

The St. Bernard Parish Council previously agreed not to rezone anything in this neighborhood until Murphy Oil provided two things to the residents of St. Bernard: 1) its Master Plan for the current facility and 2) a written plan of their long-term intent for the former "buyout" area. Only than could residents fully participate in an informed discussion to consider changes around the existing greenspace or buffer.

These dedicated neighbors were some of the first residents to return and restore their homes. They have already presented their vision for the revitalized neighborhood’s future and they have an equal right to the long-term security of their community.

The Parish Council will conduct a Public Hearing in June in Council Chambers. Comments may be submitted c/o the Council Clerk, Mr. Lauga, Mr. Cavignac, Mr. Henderson, Mr. Auderer, Mr. Landry, Mr. Ginart, or Mr. Everhardt

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