Neighborhood-wide meetings: second monday of every month at Warren Easton Charter School: 3019 Canal Street at 6:30PM.

BioDistrict Meeting on Wednesday Requires Mid-Citizen Attendance

Over the past couple of years, through local efforts, the BioDistrict has been largely stymied from going forward with it’s masterplan that includes the historic residential areas of Mid-City and Gert Town – and the industrial side of Zion City.

The BioDistrict was created in the summer of 2005 and is a political subdivision of the State of Louisiana.  It has the power to tax and expropriate. This should concern all Louisianians as commissioners have bandied about the idea of creating more districts around the city and state.

Lately, the BioDistrict is on life support. Most recently, BioDistrict is recommending a tax on new construction in the BioDistrict boundaries to fund their continued operating budget. MCNO believes that a tax of this nature could disincentivize development of our neighborhood and decrease investment in Mid-City. While we can all agree that economic development in Mid-City is welcome, MCNO has taken a formal position against the efforts of the BioDistrict as long as the residential fabric of the neighborhood is threatened including residential demolition, zoning changes, and levied taxes. If there was ever a good time to force a change of boundaries and ask for no new taxes – now is the time! It’s hard to determine if the BioDistrict will be able to find operational money to go forward with their economic development plans, but if it goes into remission once again, we need to make sure that if it comes back, it comes back with the residential areas of MidCity and Gert Town removed.

WHAT CAN YOU DO?

Email Commissioner Paul Rainwater (Paul.Rainwater@la.gov) and LED Secretary Stephen Moret (Stephen.Moret@la.gov) and ask that before any operational money is allocated to BioDistrict New Orleans, the boundaries must be changed to exclude our historic homes.

Please attend the May 23rd “special” meeting to show opposition to the BioDistrict going forward in it’s current form.

See the details in the message from Jim McNamara – President of the BioDistrict – below.

At this moment, it appears unlikely we will receive the operational funding from the State of Louisiana, we requested. We believe we have made the case in favor of continuing the mission of the District, which is employing a holistic approach towards the development of biosciences industry as part of the knowledge-based economy in the New Orleans region. Biosciences currently employs 13.5% of the workforce.

I would like to request two actions of group members:

1) Email Commissioner Paul Rainwater (Paul.Rainwater@la.gov) and LED Secretary Stephen Moret (Stephen.Moret@la.gov) Subject Line: Please fund the BioDistrict $1.5 million Operating Request. Make sure you have a signature line with your name and address;

2) Attend the BioDistrict Board Of Commissioners Meeting. On the agenda for consideration is a 1.5% Construction Impact Fee on new commercial construction in the designated commercial area of the district. The fee amounts to $2.70 charge on new construction, which funds will provide for the continued development of this industry. Dr. James Richardson points out this is a progressive and focused means of financing our own development activities.

Please plan to attend the meeting to voice your support.

Where: 1515 Poydras St., Ste 540
Date: Wednesday May 23, 2012
Time: 12:00 noon – 1:30pm

Read MCNO’s formal position and let us know what you think.

Motion: That MCNO will push for the following changes regarding the BioDistrict and will guide the efforts of the BioDistrict Committee:
  1. OPT OUT: Since there is a mechanism to get into the Biodistrict, there should be a way for a neighborhood to get out of the Biodistrict – without restrictions.  The board would like the bill amended to include an opt-out provision;
  2. Master Plan: We would like the bill amended to include that all planning and development undertaken by the Biodistrict must adhere and follow the New Orleans Master Plan  (Master Plan for the 21stCentury);
  3. Representation on the Board: Add two members to the Board of Commissioners for BioDistrict New Orleans who live inside the footprint of the BioDistrict as defined in the bill and are appointed by MCNO.

Read about MCNO efforts at the last legislative session.

 

 

One response to “BioDistrict Meeting on Wednesday Requires Mid-Citizen Attendance”

  1. James P McNamara

    Thanks Bonnie for the post. We welcome all residents and business owners to our meetings. We are a totally transparent agency posting all reports, minutes, and finances on line for inspection by the public. The BioDistrict has been very active in pursuing economic growth opportunities for the district. Our activities, as described in the master plan, include the development of new workforce training programs, new small business development, and the pursuit of new schools, public transportation, street repairs and green spaces. We are committed to maintaining the historic character of the Mid City neighborhood.

    Our long terms planning design is 100% within the guidelines of the City’s Master Plan for the 21st Century and the new Comprehensive Zoning Code, as proposed.

    Contrary to what is reported above and on numerous other occasions, we DO NOT have expropriation authority and have not sought such authority.

    Finally, the 2 community seats on the Board of Commissioners created in the 2011 session are vacant. If you have an interest in serving on this public board, please send me an email with a letter of interest, your resume and contact information and I will forward to the district legislators for their review and approval.

    We are open and available for any new ideas that will improve the livability of our community.

    Sincerely,

    James P. McNamara
    President and CEO

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