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New Orleans City Council defers two issues

Domicile rule lifted; Holy Cross development, Newcomb one-way deferred



  The New Orleans City Council deferred two contentious issues last week. A vote on whether to turn Uptown's tony Newcomb Boulevard into a one-way street was put off indefinitely after another controversial Newcomb request, that residents be allowed to buy the street, was defeated in a 7-1 vote of the City Planning Commission after a heated hearing.

  Also put off was a rezoning issue in the Holy Cross neighborhood of the Lower 9th Ward, where the architectural firm Perez would like to build a large mixed-use set of buildings along the riverfront. The neighborhood currently has a 40-foot height restriction, and the new buildings would be 75 feet high. Initial plans called for 13-story towers. The Holy Cross Neighborhood Association and many Lower 9 residents are fighting the development. A council hearing (and potential vote) on Perez's proposal is now scheduled for April 24.

  On other fronts, the council relaxed the city's controversial domicile rule, which mandates that New Orleans police officers and first responders live within Orleans Parish. The change was supported by New Orleans Police Superintendent Ronal Serpas, Mayor Mitch Landrieu and local police unions, all of whom said the current policy made it more difficult to staff police, fire and EMS services with qualified employees. The council passed the amended rule 6-1, with only District E Councilman James Gray dissenting.

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