May 4, 2012
As you may know, the City Council voted 4-2 yesterday to approve Councilmember Susan Guidry's motion to create an Interim Zoning District (IZD), which could have an adverse impact on specific universities and certain projects. This motion, no matter how packaged, was really about Tulane Stadium.
As I and others stated at the meeting, the approved motion is unfair, discriminatory and inconsistent with sound public policy because we believe it is tantamount to "spot zoning." We are fighting both for the stadium project and the principle of good public policy. We are supportive of substantive interaction with our neighbors throughout the process but do not feel the vehicle being proposed by the City Council is the correct one.
Tulane and other universities are concerned about the motion's impact on our campuses and the signal it may send to others interested in coming to or expanding their operations in New Orleans. What happened to Tulane and other universities yesterday could happen to anyone tomorrow. Gratefully, Mayor Landrieu came out strongly in opposition of the City Council's position and has threatened to veto an IZD ordinance.
Despite this temporary setback, I want to thank all of you who heeded our Call to Action. I also want to assure you that we are moving ahead with the planning for the stadium and its opening in Fall 2014.
The overwhelming public support for Tulane University also helped to ensure that the Howard-Tilton Library project did not fall prey to the restrictions of the approved motion. Its demise or delay almost became one of the unintended consequences of this motion but at the last minute Councilmember Guidry, at our request, amended her motion in such a way that it removed the library from further scrutiny.
I also want you to know that despite any differences we have with our neighbors we are committed to continue working with them to find common ground on issues of disagreement. We are proud to be located in this part of New Orleans and I believe our neighbors are pleased we are here as well. We may periodically have disagreements but there is absolutely no animosity; instead, there is mutual respect.
I mention all of this because of our commitment to community engagement and building partnerships. Nothing that happened yesterday deters us from this goal. In fact, immediately following the City Council hearing, I had an informal conversation with a few people who spoke in favor of the motion and we readily agreed we did not want yesterday's hearing to cause a rift between us. We agreed to continue discussions regarding the stadium project, regardless of the City Council action.
Have a good weekend,
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