Councilwoman Susan Guidry will ask the New Orleans City Council to withdraw plans Thursday for a new zoning district that would have governed the construction of a football stadium on Tulane’s uptown campus, a day after university President Scott Cowen is scheduled to speak to neighbors about the plans.
In early May, the council passed an resolution authored by Guidry asking the City Planning Commission to review an “interim zoning district” that would have blocked all major university construction projects in historic areas of the city. The intent, Guidry and her supporters said at the time, was not to stop the stadium, but to ensure that projects of its scale received ample public review.
In June, however, the City Planning Commission recommended strongly against such a district, saying that the university should only have to abide by existing zoning rules that allow the stadium. Meanwhile, Mayor Mitch Landrieu — who had vowed to veto any legislation stopping the stadium — was able to appoint Diana Bajoie to a temporary seat on the council, likely preventing such a veto from being overturned.
On June 25, Guidry issued a statement saying that her proposal had served as a catalyst for a series of community meetings held by Tulane: “Our residents were able to verbalize problems with a 30,000 seat stadium bordering private homes by only twenty feet,” she said in the statement.
This Thursday, citing the success of ongoing negotiations, Guidry will introduce a motion repealing the interim zoning district proposal entirely.
“Tulane University Administrators have held community meetings and have agreed that they will work with their neighbors and the City toward an enforceable agreement on issues regarding the proposed football stadium that will affect the quality of life of nearby residents,” the motion reads.
Guidry has attended both of the previous meetings about the stadium. At the first, residents heard that the stadium will not be used for anything other than athletic events, and at the second, Tulane officials described a “Park & Ride” system to help place the estimated 6,000 cars that wouldn’t fit on campus for sellout games.
At the third forum, scheduled for the Audubon Tea Room at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Tulane President Scott Cowen will update neighbors directly about the university’s latest plans for the stadium as other officials describe game-day operations.
Details about Wednesday’s community forum are below, from the Tulane stadium website:
Attendees at Tulane University’s third Community Forum, scheduled for Wednesday, July 11, at 6 p.m. at the Audubon Tea Room, will hear how the campus will be readied for all the activities and festivities surrounding intercollegiate football games.
Representatives of SMG/Tobler will discuss typical preparations for game day, including how and when deliveries will be made, where television trucks will park and post-game clean up.
Game day activities will also be addressed. Doug Thornton of SMG, who is working with the university as project manager, will provide an overview of game day activities and discuss planning for hospitality and tailgating.
Finally, Tulane President Scott S. Cowen will attend the meeting to make comments about the ongoing process of planning for the stadium, as well as hear feedback and questions about the new facility.
Prior to President Cowen’s comments, attendees will engage in table work similar to the two previous meetings, through
which questions and concerns from individuals at every table are shared with the audience.
The forum will again be moderated by Greg Otis and Ron Kull of GBBN architects of Cincinnati.
Those unable to attend will be able to view the evening’s presentation on tulanestadium.com, where it will be posted at the start of the meeting.
The transcript of the meeting will be posted the following week.
[This article was first published at 2:30 p.m. and updated at 3:40 p.m.]