The Chipotle restaurant planned for the Garden District that has stirred questions about the proliferation of chain restaurants on Magazine Street is scheduled to be discussed by the City Planning Commission on Tuesday.
The Chipotle — the chain’s first location inside the New Orleans city limits — is planned for the former RadioShack space at 2801 Magazine Street, inside the same strip mall on the corner of Washington Avenue that houses a Starbucks coffee shop. City planners had initially classified it as a fast-food restaurant for a variety of reasons, but the restaurant’s representatives convinced the city to treat it as a standard restaurant instead.
Technically, the Chipotle needs a conditional-use permit from the City Council to use the space for a restaurant instead of a retail store. City planners are recommending approval of the request, with 19 requirements regarding landscaping and litter.
Alcohol “tasting or sampling” would be allowed in the space — though developers have said it will not be served — and no live music would be permitted. The restaurant use is also restricted only to the single unit within the building where the Chipotle will be located.
The high-profile restaurant’s arrival onto Magazine Street has prompted concern from both neighborhood and business advocates: Neighborhood groups have worried that chain businesses dilute the character of the distinctively New Orleans street, and small-business advocacy groups say national chains contribute much less to the city’s economy. Both groups have expressed more interest in future legislation that could potentially limit the influx of chains in specific areas, however, rather than outright opposition to this Chipotle.
The City Planning Commission meets at 12:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 8, in the council chambers at City Hall, 1300 Perdido Street. The Chipotle request is expected to be heard following a discussion of numerous proposed Master Plan amendments.
[Update, 12:24 p.m. The City Planning Commission has moved its meeting an hour earlier than normal, to 12:30 p.m. Tuesday, according to an announcement from the agency shortly after noon on Monday. This article has been updated to reflect the new time.]