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Master Plan With the Force of Law:
Planning and Zoning in New Orleans
   

For decades, New Orleans’ system of land use and zoning has been broken. While vibrant cities like Atlanta, Baltimore, and San Francisco have coherent plans to direct their development and growth, New Orleans has an outdated zoning code that has been amended hundreds of times, often with little citizen input to favor a privileged few.

For decades, citizens have worked to reform this system by drafting a Master Plan to direct development based on citizen input, protect New Orleans’ unique neighborhoods, encourage its businesses, and give stability, transparency, and predictability to development. But without a city mandate giving one plan the force of law, these plans have all ended up gathering dust on a shelf.

In April of 2008, the New Orleans City Council took on this task and voted 7-0 to amend the City’s Charter to mandate a Master Plan with the Force of Law. As with all amendments to the City Charter, the people themselves give the final word on whether a change passes or fails. And on November 4, 2008, the amendment passed. 

With this vote, New Orleanians mandated rules for the game of development in New Orleans – rules that are fair, that reflect citizens’ interests, and that are not subject to political whims.

To find out more about this charter amendment and the Master Plan with the Force of Law, please follow the links below.