Monday, July 9, 2012

Petition to Stop the Cummings Monstrosity @ 501 Elysian Fields

The Petition

June 12, 2012
The Faubourg Marigny Improvement Association was founded in 1972 in response to the actual and proposed erection of buildings of a height and design which overpowered the existing architectural fabric of its neighborhood. Specifically, the 75 ft tall Christopher Inn at 2110 Royal St.   Residents worked painstakingly with city officials to enact zoning that would ensure the historic neighborhood was protected from such over-sized buildings in the future by establishing a 50 foot height limit.  This 50 foot height restriction is, to a large extent, responsible for the neighborhood preserving its nineteenth-century character to this day.  The proposed construction of a 75 foot building at the foot of Elysian Fields and the rumored proposal of oversized parking garages on city-owned sites on the avenue suggest that the height limit that has protected this historic neighborhood for nearly 40 years is at risk.

Facts about the proposed development at 501 Elysian Fields:

1 – The current design creates a 6 story tall (73 feet) dwelling tower at Elysian Fields and a 4 story tower (48 feet) at Marigny Street.  The project could easily fit within the current zoning if the tower buildings were spread more evenly over the entire 31,000 square feet area.

2 - Other nearby developments have been successfully completed without major zoning changes.  For example, Los IsleƱos condominium project at 1029 Esplanade Avenue and the Aloysius Apartments at 1137 Esplanade which is on a similarly sized lot (28,550 sq.ft.) are both appropriate developments that fit into the neighborhoods and respect the 50 foot limit.

3 - The developer is asking permission to have a much higher density than what is currently allowed (lot area of 496 square feet per dwelling instead of 600 square feet) and is currently in use in the remainder of the block.

4 – Historically, the neighborhood has received substantial benefits for agreeing to even minor zoning variances.   The proposed project offers nothing to the neighborhood in exchange for major zoning variances: a 50% height increase, parking deficit, and density increase.  

5 - Developments such as this may go through a “Value Engineering” phase where many promised and sought after aspects are eliminated because they cost too much.  Neighbors do not want this project as currently proposed and fear further harm through Value Engineering

6 – Granting a variance of 70+ feet sets a dangerous precedent for the development of the other vacant properties and warehouses in the Marigny, increasing the danger of ever taller buildings in the 19th century neighborhood.

Historic Marigny Zoning was created 38 years ago to protect the Faubourg Marigny and maintain its historic scale and we, the residents, have spent the last 38 years ensuring that this zoning has been kept intact.

As stewards of this historic neighborhood we, the undersigned, insist that the city enforce and adhere to the zoning standards as defined in the existing zoning ordinances and reaffirmed in the master plan meetings held in 2008-2010, specifically the 50 foot height limit.

(*Information above is reposted directly from the petition site.)

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