Jan 232013
 

A map of the proposed moratorium on new alcohol sales in Carrollton. (map by Robert Morris, via maps.google.com)

A moratorium that requires any business in the Carrollton area that wishes to serve alcohol to get specific permission from the city could continue, based on a proposal before the New Orleans City Council this week.

The current moratorium has been in place for two years, but does not ban alcohol sales outright in Carrollton — many new restaurants have successfully opened with alcohol sales in that time, such as Tru Burger and the upcoming Mellow Mushroom on Oak Street, or Kakkoii and Singha Song on Maple. But the moratorium does require such businesses to formally request a waiver from the City Council — even if their zoning would normally allow it — which often involves working out a good-neighbor agreement on operating hours and other issues with the surrounding neighborhood associations.

“It’s not a total ban on it,” said Kelly Butler, special projects director in Guidry’s office. “It’s just a chance for the City Planning staff to look at it, for City Council look at it, and for neighbors to have input.”

The boundaries of the previous moratorium reached one block farther north to Birch and two blocks over to Audubon Park. (map provided by City Councilwoman Susan Guidry’s office).

Because the current moratorium has reached its maximum life of two years, it cannot be renewed. Thus, after seeking input from the Carrollton neighborhoods, Councilwoman Susan Guidry’s office has altered the moratorium boundaries. The map retains its basic triangular shape along the Riverbend, encompassing Maple, Oak, Carrollton, Broadway and Willow Streets, but trims off some neighborhoods along the northern and eastern edges that do not have commercially-zoned properties and thus do not need the moratorium, Butler said.

The new moratorium runs roughly along Jeanette and Broadway Streets to make a triangle with the river, with a few additional blocks.

“We tightened up the boundaries,” Butler said. “It’s smaller than what it used to be.”

Some neighborhood groups had suggested expanding the boundaries up to Claiborne Avenue, Butler noted, but said the office decided not to do that without holding a broader conversation with residents.

The moratorium is truly intended to be a temporary instrument, Butler said, until the new Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance can address the neighborhoods’ wishes more directly.

“We’re all just waiting for the new zoning ordinance, but we wanted to answer call from neighborhoods to see some sort of gap measure put in place,” Butler said.

The new moratorium has already found one opponent in the new operators of Jimmy’s Music Club on Willow Street. Mike Tifft, an attorney for the club, appeared before the city’s Alcohol Beverage Control board last week to call the moratorium’s application to license renewals an “unconstitutional taking.”

Guidry’s office is still researching the specific case of Jimmy’s, Butler said. If the club was closed for six months, the property may have lost its permission to sell alcohol regardless of the moratorium. If so, the club may need a complete change of its zoning, Butler said.

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  • http://twitter.com/mwtifftnola Michael Tifft

    Under the Home Rule Charter “no moratorium ordinance, interim zoning district, or similar prohibition of substantially the same legal effect on substantially the same geographic area may be imposed until at least one year after the expiration of the prior moratorium ordinance, interim zoning district, or other temporary prohibition.” The proposed new moratorium
    will have “substantially the same legal effect on substantially the same
    geographic area” and would therefore be illegal.

    • disqus_fu9vmrCPnp

      I love it when/if the law (aka Home Charter ) works. Now…of course it should work and this new moratorium should be illegal.
      But…just wait and see…Guidry is probably working overtime with her developer friends….Thinking of some other loophole. If the 6 month grandfather hasn’t expired yet….She will find a way to delay…and delay…and delay. And then, after all is said and done…they will say “Oh…it’s been 12 months since the last bar was there….We can’t allow this to be Grandfathered now.”

  • http://www.facebook.com/1stLadyLenora Lenora Hess White

    Thanks for working for Jimmy’s, Michael. You know he has alot of supporters and about 350 of us signed a petition in his favor.

    • http://www.facebook.com/jim.mcarthur.10 Jim McArthur

      Ah, mention of Jimmy’s, and I thought we’d hear from Lenora. :-)

  • Uptowner

    So Jimmy’s won’t be “grandfathered in” under the previous Frat House operation? I don’t have a clue if it has been closed for over 6 months. Just curious – that building really couldn’t be used for anything besides a bar…

    • Drew Ward

      CRNA is intent on ensuring that no bar ever gets to open in the Frat House location!

      I’ve heard this exact thing espoused time and again at their board meetings.

      As usual, they’ve just used their greatest tool (Guidry’s Moratorium) to muscle a local business out of business.

  • http://www.facebook.com/newtonnola Judy Pfau Hull

    I “grew up” at Jimmy’s. I know for me and many many others its a landmark. To not have Jimmy’s would be a crying shame. When I heard about this latest stall in his opening it really upset me. They need to consider the contributions Jimmy Anselmo has made to the music landscape. He is New Orleans!

  • georgekstevens

    High-handed bullying on the part of Ms. Guidry. Disgraceful. Not to mention the fact that if Jimmy’s takes the city to federal court, they’re going to win damages.

    I hope they sue her personally, along with the city, and along with all of the other council members who rubber-stamp her motion when it comes up.

    It’s bad enough we have a tyrant in the White House; we sure don’t need another one at City Hall.

  • Drew Ward

    This is nothing more than an illegal work around that allows certail Councilwomen to hand off zoning, permitting, and alcohol licensing processes that are spellt out quite clearly in the law to their political supporters in a few (supposed) neighbourhood groups.

    In the case of this particular issue, this moratorium is Guidry’s gift to CRNA and MARI and allows their couple dozen members to hand pick which businesses, types of businesses, lessees, and buyers can have access to Uptown.

    They hold the zoning and permitting processes hostage, often (as is the case with Mellow Mushroom) delaying construction or planning of new businesses for 6 months or more whilst they bully hard-sought people willing to invest in blighted areas to sign “Good Neighbour Agreements” which unfairly restrict their businesses so as to keep them out or keep them from competing with businesses owned by or allied with the members of these groups.

    When Kelly Butler asked for input on whether or not to reintroduce this moratorium, I sent her an email on behalf of the true interests of these neighbourhoods asking that Councilwoman Guidry refrain from acting on this issue until she has the chance to hear from all her constituents rather than those couple dozen who claim to represent thousands without ever talking to them.

    I offered to organise a community meeting on the issue and to do all of the legwork.

    I received zero response. I got no email back. I called and left voicemails on both Kelly Butler’s and the Councilwoman’s general voicemail and did not get a single call back.

    ________________

    Please! Some lawyer somewhere out there who cares about ensuring that nepotism and corrupt dealings remain in the past of our local government where they belong, help us fight Guidry & Head and their cronies who keep guising their corruption by using words like “engagement”!

  • http://www.facebook.com/rexrose Rex Rose

    There’s a Facebook group to help Jimmy Anselmo open Jimmy’s again at the historic location on Willow. Join up and show your support! https://www.facebook.com/groups/568001243228042/?fref=ts