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.
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.
- 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;
- 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);
- 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.