After spending the summer meeting with neighbors and city officials, the Isidore Newman School has decided to withdraw a zoning request that would have allowed an expanded preschool facility for the coming year. Newman officials had planned to move their early childhood education facility, known as the Greenie House, into a cluster of reimagined houses at the corner of Loyola and Valmont. The project was due for a vote by City Council last Thursday, but the school instead withdrew its request altogether. It had become too late to begin construction and renovations in order to be ready for students by next fall, said Newman attorney Justin Schmidt in a telephone interview afterward, so the school leadership decided to postpone the entire project altogether. “Given that there were some delays in the approval process in this go-round, Newman realized it wasn’t going to make 2012 school year, and it just felt it would be better to withdraw and reapply once it spent more time looking at a complete master plan,” Schmidt said.
Although a number of Uptown-based land-use items appear on Thursday’s agenda before the City Council, many are expected to be postponed in order to adjourn the meeting prior to the funeral of Archbishop Philip Hannan. The agenda includes a request to sell alcohol at the CVS on Claiborne, a request for the expansion of Poydras Home, the Isidore Newman school’s request for expansion of its school-use zoning, changes to Whole Foods’ operating agreement, permission for Johnny V’s to open and a “technical amendment” to the ordinance allowing alcohol sales at the Walgreens on South Claiborne. A representative of Councilwoman Susan Guidry’s office said Tuesday night that Whole Foods and Johnny V’s will be deferred until a later meeting, and the City Council issued a statement Wednesday saying that the meeting will adjourn at 1 p.m. to allow council members to attend the funeral. The meeting begins at 10 a.m. and will be broadcast live from the council website.
After the appointment of interim Councilman Eric Granderson, a lengthy presentation on energy rates and a two-hour battle over the height of a Canal Street redevelopment project, the New Orleans City Council decided to postpone four Uptown property-use matters Thursday. Specifically, decisions on a variety of requests by Whole Foods, the Isidore Newman School, CVS Pharmacy and Poydras Home were all postponed without comment until the Oct. 6 council meeting.
Although the selection of a temporary member of the City Council to serve for the next six months will likely dominate Thursday’s council meeting, a number of Uptown-based land-use issues are on the agenda as well. On Thursday, the City Council is slated to nominate an interim replacement for at-large Councilman Arnie Fielkow from 16 applicants for the job, more than half of whom have strong Uptown connections. The interim councilman will not be able to run for the remainder of Fielkow’s term in a special election in March. Prior to that discussion, however, the council’s agenda calls for discussion of a number of ongoing land-use issues, including changes to the operating agreement for Whole Foods, expansion of school-use zoning at the Isidore Newman School campus, liquor sales at a new CVS Pharmacy on Claiborne Avenue, a large addition to the Poydras Home retirement facility, and re-subdivision of several lots in the 4500 block of Freret Street.
The Isidore Newman School is working on additional restrictions to its expansion plans in order to address the concerns of its neighbors, the school attorney told members of the surrounding neighborhoods Tuesday night. The school is asking for land-use changes on three sides of its campus. An early-childhood center is planned across Loyola Avenue, a home on the corner of Jefferson and Danneel is being renovated for a headmaster’s house, and the old AutoPaint building at Danneel and Robert, currently used for storage, could one day become a classroom facility of some kind, said attorney Justin Schmidt. Neighbors worry about the impact that each of the changes could bring. The early childhood center, they say, will bring more traffic to the already-crowded neighborhood streets.
Officials from the Isidore Newman School will meet next week with the two surrounding neighborhood associations to discuss proposed changes to their campus, prior to the City Council’s vote on the issue next month. Several neighbors with concerns about the school’s plans had asked the school for time for such a meeting, and the City Council deferred its scheduled vote on the matter last week. The meeting of the Baronne Street and Hurstville neighborhood associations is scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 30, at the Jewish Community Center. Details, from email:
The Baronne Street Neighborhood Association has invited residents of the Hurstville Neighborhood Association to its neighborhood meeting on Tuesday, Aug.
Despite requests from several neighborhoods for more time to become familiar with the Isidore Newman School’s proposed land-use changes, the City Planning Commission gave the school’s plans a favorable recommendation Tuesday to the City Council with very little discussion. The school plans to build an early-childhood education center on Loyola Avenue by combining two houses on the street with a third home to be moved from elsewhere on campus, officials have said. Newman is also seeking official “school use” designation for several other buildings it owns, including the old Autopaint building on Danneel Street currently used for storage and the proposed headmaster’s house at 1803 Jefferson. While the pre-school project generally wins neighbors’ praise, a perception that “school use” is an overly vague land-use designation troubles some neighbors. Several wrote letters to the planning commission asking for a 30-day deferral on the vote, and nearby Baronne Street Neighborhood Assocation president Lynn Alline was among those who appeared Tuesday to make that request in person.
The Isidore Newman School’s plan to build an early-childhood center on Loyola Street and rezone several other buildings it owns for general school use will be heard by the City Planning Commission in a meeting set for 1:30 p.m. Tuesday (July 26). The 93-page report on the request, which includes written comments from several of the neighbors who expressed concerns about the project earlier this month, ends with a recommendation from city staffers for the planning commissioners to send the project to the City Council with their approval. That recommendation comes with several conditions, however, such as requiring Newman to replace broken windows in the Autopaint building. Other Uptown properties on the agenda:
Amendments to the parking plan at 8116-8120 Oak Street (which carries a favorable staff report). A zoning change from two-family residential to multi-family residential at 2222 Peniston, to permit a renovation that would re-establish its previous use as a three-unit home.
A group of teenagers fleeing police in an allegedly stolen SUV with a pistol in the back abandoned their vehicle at the edge of the Isidore Newman School campus in Uptown New Orleans, and two were caught moments later hiding in a Newman warehouse, authorities said. Shortly before 9 p.m. Monday, police received a report of a possibly stolen Chevrolet Trailblazer on Louisiana Avenue, and the officer who found it driving there attempted to pull it over, said Sgt. Eric Gillard of the NOPD Sixth District task force. The Trailblazer turned into the neighborhood and at first kept a steady speed and obey the traffic signs, but as the officer continued to follow it with its lights on, the SUV began driving more recklessly, so the officer broke off, Gillard said. Other officers had reached the neighborhood, however, and saw the SUV parked on Danneel Street with its doors open at the edge of a field owned by Newman about a block from where the first officer had stopped following.
The Isidore Newman School’s plan to incorporate two historic homes on Loyola Street into its new early childhood education center won praise from neighbors Tuesday night, but the broader zoning changes to property around the campus caused some concern.